“Xerox Copy” is a fairly common signage that can be chanced on Indian streets. Millions of shops across the length and breadth of the nation offer photocopying services for a buck or two. The term Xerox has entered our lexicon and is now used as a generic term for photocopying. Yet, that isn’t how it should be. Xerox Corp is a century-old company that has invented and introduced the photo-copier, which subsequently became ubiquitous across the world, like in India. The only hitch was that instead of getting a photocopy, people preferred to call it Xerox copy. It became a generic term.

“Bed-in-a-Box” is a somewhat similar tale. You see, back in 2006, Bill Bradley and a friend built a machine that could compress, roll and vacuum-pack a mattress, there by allowing it to be shipped in a box-carton. The two went on to launch BedInABox LLC, an online-based business wherein they
would send the deflated and shrunken mattress to homes across the US. To
convince users who are more accustomed to trying out mattresses before buying them, BedInABox offered massive discounts, free shipping, risk-free trials and 20 years of warranty. The premise was interesting, but somehow the market did not seem to be interested in the product, and hardly anyone noticed.

Then in 2012, software engineer JT Marino and his friend Dahee Park launched Tuft & Needles, a direct-to-home mattress company with a business model that was entirely online. Shortly, later Casper appeared on
the horizon, and suddenly there was aremarkable upsurge in business. For fairly obvious reasons, consumers preferred buying mattresses after touch-and-feel. But a new breed of millennials that were comfortable with ‘googling’ everything latched on to the product. The companies too realized where the customer was and quickly started targeting the millennials
with a renewed zeal. Result in a pretty short time, bed-in-a-box, or a mattress-in-a-box, or boxed mattress had become the game-changer. So much so that in 2015, the hallowed Time Magazine hailed Casper and other such online mattress companies selling the bed-in-a-box as the 25 best inventions of the year.

THE BOXED MATTRESS HAS ARRIVED IN INDIA AND IN STYLE.

Shortly, after hundreds of companies spawned in the US and across the world, including India. Given the explosion in online retail, the growth of online mattress companies is not altogether surprising. Experts predict a healthy growth for such companies, growing from a meagre 3% market share in 2015 to as much as 15% of the $30 billion global mattress market by 2020.

Speaking of India, the concept is novel and is catching on. At the moment there are a handful of brands that offer rolled-up mattresses, like SleepyCat, Wakefit, Sunday Mattress, Sleepyhead, Sleepwell, Kurl-on, Centuary, Roll Matt and many other brand’s joining in. The excitement in the market can

be gauged by the fact that even a German mattress brand Emma launched its portfolio of boxed mattresses in the Indian markets.

SO WHAT IS SO AMAZING ABOUT THE BOXED MATTRESS? HERE IS A LIST OF REASONS THAT SEEM TO BE WORKING IN FAVOR OF BOXED MATTRESS.

Price Factor: Price plays the biggest factor that drives this novel concept successfully. With the initiatives of the brands to bring in the comfort factor and product innovation as well in this new concept, mattress in a box falls into the sweet spot of consumer preference and affordability. Also, it is an

undeniable fact that by having a digital-only model, mattress companies can realize huge savings which can be passed out to the buyers in the forms of discounts or offers.

Convenience: Buying online is easy and quick. The biggest concerns that buyers have are over quality and comfort. By providing a generous trial-period and take-back guarantee, companies can tide over those limitations. The best part is that they will be delivered right at your doorstep.

Comfort: Boxed mattress manufacturers know their customer likings well. The products are designed after much research and deliberations on consumer likings. Most of these mattresses fall somewhere in the medium firmness range, with slight variations. To make them more comfortable, some mattresses have cooling-gel layers or thin-layer of inner-foam on top to make it more appealing. Given the fact that comfort is the primary USP, manufacturers take a lot of effort to ensure that the buyer experiences nothing less than the best.

CHALLENGES OF MATTRESS IN A BOX

There aren’t many negative points against buying these mattresses except that some customers complain about a plastic-smell that stays on for a few days. Also, there is no fixed time-frame as to when the mattress would expand and be ready for sleep. Some mattresses do in a few minutes, while

others take a few hours. But beyond these niggles, there is nothing much that should dissuade a buyer.

THE FUTURE OF MATTRESS IN A BOX IN INDIA

Overall we can say that bed in a box is a new technology which weighs more towards its advantages. Moreover, the COVID-19 Pandemic has been a sort of blessing for the mattress companies especially for the online business. If there were any reservations against an online purchase by the consumers, there aren’t any more.

Like other industries, the Indian mattress industry has also seen a blow in the initial phases of lockdown. However this dip was more due to lockdown, supply, logistics and safety concerns and not due to fall in the demand of mattress as a product. Mattress brands have seen remarkable growth on the website visits and increasing social media engagements. This shows that consumers still want to buy a mattress. Just that they are a little more on guard for spending post lockdown on non essential products, mattress being the one.

Nevertheless, there are two important factors that are still making consumers invest in mattresses. One is consumer’s growing realization on the importance of sleep and its correlation to the bedding. People have spent their maximum time on a mattress since lockdown. With the rising awareness on the health and hygiene and sleep as one of the strongest immunity booster, they have become concerned with their old mattress

and its side effects. Consumers have realized that the old mattress is a source of allergens and posture issues that result in health problems.The second factor is consumer’s need to buy a mattress for wedding or house warming needs.

These diverse reasons for the mattress changeover and the benefits of Mattress in a Box innovation make it a smart choice of consumers for catering to their demands in the current environment, where Retail Showroom businesses are still resetting themselves. Also, a pre-packaged mattress shipped directly from a manufacturer seems a lot safer option than having to visit a retail store. With the festive and wedding season

on the anvil, and online marts offering generous discounts, the boxes are literally flying off the shelf. India has the largest number of young people in the world, and given the online preferences of the youth, the future for boxed mattresses seem bright and sunny.