MATTRESS FABRIC What is trending for consumers?

When it comes to mattress fabric coverings today, we have number options and materials to choose from.

The variety of choices, fabrics, properties, and materials can be completely overwhelming. Mattress manufacturers can consider changing consumer preferences

With the awareness about quality mattress growing rapidly thanks to the Internet and a globetrotting consumer, preferring a luxurious, quality mattress doesn’t mean burning a hole in your pocket anymore. With continuous innovation and technological advances in sleep products, the consumer today is conscious that when it comes to purchasing a mattress in India, she is assured that she has access to a wide variety of choices which are on par with global standards. The state-of-the-art mattress technology with international quality certifications ensures a global parity.

“When we bought our first mattress online, we were particular about the fabric used. Fortunately, we got both,” says Tejaswini M, a consumer in Bangalore. Not to be left behind, mattress manufacturers are making the best mattress available in Indian markets. “We spend significant time interacting with the consumer to find out their taste in terms of fabric, mattress filling, colour and hundred other details,” says a manufacturing unit executive in Vadodara. “We place consumer preference as the driving force behind every single mattress we make. In fact, rarely do we manufacture a line of mattress without running at least 10 in-person surveys,” she says.

Consumer Preferences

So, what exactly are these preferences? When we ran a survey to find out directly from the consumers, we realized that there is a large section of buyers who are not as glued into the technology and benefits of mattress and they buy based on recommendations by friends and relatives and mostly recommendations by in-store salesmen.

A friendly mattress retail store executive, Somanath from a local mattress store in Hubli listed out the primary styles preferred in a mattress:

• Adults like off-white colour combination with texture • Children prefer comic characters, animal crackers and these days space-related themes printed on the fabric • Older age group would like to have cotton fabric with light-coloured prints of various patterns

“The style and pattern changes from age group to age group and from culture to culture,” add Mukesh, a fabric prints workshop owner in Coimbatore.

“A pure silk fabric on the mattress offers excellent feeling any time of the year,” said Roshan S, a civil contractor in Bangalore. Silk fabric is among the most expensive but preferred fabrics for mattresses. Styles and prints have changed. “Ever since Elon Musk has come up on the world scene with his SpaceX venture, kids want to have a space theme printed on their mattress fabric,” said Navakanth, a food scientist with a leading research centre in Bangalore. “Mattress fabric style fade in and out as fast as any fashion wear,” said Ram Samtani, a fashion clothing retailer, “we need to be alive to the world around us and understand the trend early enough.” These days, people prefer tones of white and grey in their bedroom and the fabric should also go along with it, says Rakesh K, a furniture upholstery retailer in Tumkur. “There was a time when colour-stained fabric was popular, or some years back large, printed pattern was a rage,” he says. “Much depends on the living conditions. Typically, a household with an AC fitted out in the bedroom prefers lighter, sober colour like the variations of white,” says Ram. “Whereas a bedroom without an AC but with large windows prefer coloured fabric.”

Fabric types

However, there is a bigger game in town when it comes to mattresses and that is the fabric that is used to cover the mattress innards. Our mattress fabrics are made of primarily woven or knitted yarn. Natural fabric material combined by inspiring design and colour is perfect for making a mattress the ultimate object of desire.

“Mattress fabrics are the most overlooked factor in choosing the mattress,” says Ranjit Rayen, a consumer from Chennai. Mattress fabric a key factor in getting that feel of comfort and people miss out on it. Mattress industry experts opine that a consumer should be aware of the various yarns used in making the mattress, because that might make or mar their good night’s sleep.

“I changed my mattress fabric to a cotton on and from then on I have not woken up tired,” says Kavitha, an entrepreneur from Pune. If you are tossing up in your bed, then it’s more likely that the fabric of your mattress is to be blamed. With the right materials, a mattress should keep you fresh when it’s hot, warm when it’s cold, and refreshed even when you’re sweating heavily.

Let’s take a quick look at various fabrics.

Organic cotton Yarn: Mattress fabric made of cotton fibres and yarns are preferred by many. They are available easily and are easy to maintain.

Natural Bamboo fabric: If you are someone passionate about using natural resources then yarn made of Bamboo offers excellent moisture wicking which keeps you cosy and dry even in extreme hot weather.

The Maharajas of Mysore have been known to have used Bamboo yarn since for this very quality. Its eminently breathable fibres make it a perfect yarn for warm climates or hot summers. As it’s also very soft on the skin and inherently anti-bacterial, it reduces allergies caused by bacteria or fungi.

Tencel yarn: Comfortable, cool, and rugged is a hallmark of Tencel, a unique yarn created from a mix of preconsumer cotton waste and wood pulp from sustainable tree farms.

Anyone who comes in contact with this material will immediately fall in love with its ultra-soft, light-weight fabric. Tencel is a natural moisture absorber and is preferred by people with sensitive skin. Thanks to its durable character, it’s very long-lasting and not prone to becoming thin over time.

Modal fabric: Modal is a type of rayon, which was originally developed as an alternative to silk. Modal rayon is made from hardwood trees like birch, beech, and oak. This soft and very drapable fabric is known for its comfort and brilliant lustre.

Easy cleanability is something many of us are looking for nowadays, and modal lives up to this demand. Modal is washable and is 50 percent less likely to shrink than cotton. Add in its effective sweat-absorbing property and you’ve got yourself a perfect partner for your bedroom.

Silk yarn: Reduce wrinkles while sleeping is the greatest catch line of silk, the strongest natural fibre in the world.

A natural anti-aging material, Silk, is one of the most preferred luxury fabrics in the mattress industry. Its naturally occurring amino acids are believed to work on the skin when left in contact overnight.

Apart from being the strongest natural fibre, silk offers other benefits owing to the fact that it is a completely natural material. It can be used in any climate and is one of the preferred fabrics of mattress connoisseurs.

Softer and cool fabrics with brighter colours are trending

In a survey conducted by us, 26.9 percent of respondents say they prefer a branded mattress made of cotton yarn and printed in bright coloured patterns. There are about 20 percent of respondents who only prefer off-white fabric with subtle patterns and textures. See the section above on various fabrics people can chose from.

The respondents find silk and organic cotton to be the most comfortable, 53.8 percent of respondents agree to it. Around 23 percentof respondents have selected Tencel and Modal type fabric to be comfortable and 11 percent of respondents have chosen organic bamboo fabric.

When the respondent was asked to describe their quality of sleep that they get on the present mattress that they are using, 69.2 percent get comfortable sleep and are satisfied with their mattress and are not likely to change it soon, 19 percent have no problem getting sound sleep on their mattress, 7.7 percent find it difficult at the beginning to fall asleep on the mattress, they are likely to change to a comfortable mattress.

When the respondents were asked what comfort means to them 70 percent of the respondents liked their mattress to be soft. 15 percent of the respondents find comfort in mattress fabric that does not have accented texture. And only 7 percent liked textures that are coarse.

Considering silk fabric is trending and moving up the popularity chart, it is interesting to note that 20 percent of the respondents have never experienced the silk fabric. and are looking forward to buying it. And only 11 percent have tried it find it uncomfortable. Silk requires higher level of maintenance and is one reason people shy away from it. However, with the awareness about its benefits, silk is moving up.

When the respondents were asked to rate their comfort of the present fabric – irrespective of what they are currently using a scale of 1-5 where 1 being least Satisfied and 5 being Most Satisfied — 46 percent rated 4. 30 percent have rated 5 and only 3.8 percent of people have rated 1. This means that most people are fairly satisfied and comfortable with the fabric they are currently using.

“Organic Cotton for me personally is very comfortable. I like its soft texture and subtle patterns with off-white colour. I find this more comfortable than, say, silk as it is too fine for comfort” says Mr. Senthil a member of Global Textile Alliance India.

Mattress fabric and style are continuously being innovated as they are the most visible part of a mattress both in terms of look and feel and experience. “Nobody wants a simple poly-cotton fabric with loud patterns anymore. People have discovered the benefits of advanced organic material and that is the future,” says Ranjit

Fabric categories

Now let’s talk about the various categories these fabrics fall under. There are three levels of segments for mattresses, i.e. Low class segment, Mid-Level segment and the Premium segment Starting with the lower segment, this segment has mattresses ranging from two thousand rupees to eight thousand rupees. The kind of fabric that goes in making the mattress is usually a cheap fabric like polycotton fabric. The fabrics used are low density foams, coirs or ep sheets. Here the colours are fancy colours, printed colours. In upper segment of the lowclass segment where the mattress prices range from six thousand to eight thousand, the fabrics used are a mixture of foam and coir and the colours are coffee brown, maroon and vibrant colours.

Now let’s talk about the mid-level segment, where the most sales happen. The price of this segment ranges from ten thousand rupees to twenty thousand rupees. The common fabric sold in this segment is cotton and modal. Here the fabric mostly used are predominantly with vibrant and attractive colours, for example a white background with floral designs. This is the segment where the online players come in. The average fabric material quality used in the segment are from 200 – 250 gsm.

And the final segment, the premium segment of Mattress mostly has natural organic material like bamboo, silk or Tencel. The price range for this segment of the mattress is thirty thousand rupees to sixty thousand rupees.

The online players are targeting the age group of 25-35 years of age because this is age group that prefer soft comfortable fabric.

ISPF is an industry body which promotes importance of sleep and role of mattress for a Indian consumers. ISPF plays very important role in connecting Indian bedding industry ecosystem. ISPF also acts as bridge between India and international players.