Online mattress firms leave rivals sleepless

Sangeetha Chengappa Bengaluru | Updated on January 09, 2018

Start-ups Wakefit and Sunday are disrupting the $3-billion market

They come in coir, foam, spring and latex. They come in different sizes, and different prices, ranging from ₹5,000 to a few lakh rupees. But it is this sheer diversity that confuses the customer when she goes shopping for a mattress. That’s where Wakefit and Sunday come in. Inspired by their American cousins, these Indian online sleep start-ups are disrupting the country’s $3-billion mattress market, which has been growing at 10-15 per cent annually.

What they do

Their business model is simple: offer customers one or two variants of mattresses that have been designed taking into consideration different human body types and needs; set clear prices; sell online, cutting out middlemen so that prices are 40 per cent lower; ship free to customers, offer them a 100-day trial during which they can return the item for a full refund.

Customers seem to love it, as both bootstrapped start-ups are running profitable businesses. While Wakefit turned profitable in July 2016, six months after it started shipping to customers, Sunday turned profitable in fiscal 2017, 18 months after it began sales. Wakefit has sold over 50,000 units and Sunday, more than 25,000. “A small percentage of customers ask for mattresses that are comfortable, natural or ones that can address back-aches. However, over 90 per cent don’t know what mattress to buy,” says Ankit Garg, CEO of Wakefit.

To test the market, Garg first launched more than six models of mattresses under the Wakefit brand on Amazon. Six months later, after studying the market needs, he launched Wakefit’s own e-commerce site, offering just two models, priced between ₹5,600- ₹30,000.

“We spend a third of our lives sleeping, but how much time and money do we invest to get a good night’s sleep?” asks Sunday’s founder Alphonse Reddy. Sunday started off with two mattress models priced between ₹16,000 and ₹50,000, and recently launched a third, cheaper model.

“This space holds immense potential, as sales of online mattresses currently constitute less than 1 per cent of the market,” says Reddy. While 70 per cent of Wakefit’s sales accrue from its own website and the rest through e-tailers Amazon and Flipkart, Sunday prefers to sell exclusively on its own website.

The success of the start-ups hasn’t gone unnoticed. Many others, such as Nubliss, House of Bed, Mattress Box and SleepyCat joining the fray in an industry fuelled by urbanisation, rising disposable incomes and health issues. Even biggies Kurlon, Sleepwell, Peps and Duroflex are getting their e-commerce act together. While just ₹15 crore of Kurlon’s ₹1,010 turnover comes from third-party sites and its own website, just ₹2 crore of the ₹265-crore turnover of Peps comes from its online business.

Published on December 18, 2017

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