When Apple CEO Tim Cook said that he appreciated how much work was being done by the global workforce from their homes, he articulated a much-accepted sentiment among business leaders pointing to Work From Home would be here to stay.
In India, just two months into the lockdown, TCS announced that a major portion of its workforce would be homebound & would work from home. So did Wipro, Cognizant, and every corporate in the knowledge sector – small and big.
‘’This opened a huge opportunity for many,’’ points out Arjun Raj Urs, a leadership coach who has been coaching corporate teams in being productive while working remotely. ‘’Suddenly people started seeing demands for a good workstation table at home or the old laptop was sought to be upgraded. A business associate who was into office furniture quickly moved into helping make your home office comfier with a high-adjustable table, a bookshelf, ergonomic chairs, and the works,’’ says Arjun.
CHANGE IN LIFESTYLE
The pandemic may have brought in irreversible changes but it is forcing a new lifestyle. It may be causing lower demand for certain sectors, apparel, footwear, travelling, eating out, cinema, and the like. Still, it has increased demand for things like home improvement, laptops, better mobiles, ovens, grills, coffee makers, and the like.
With this, the mattress industry is also seeing a new demand.‘’I didn’t know cushions and pillows would become a much sought-after commodity, says Arjun. My neighbourhood mattress retailer is selling pillows, pillow covers, and cushions online.’’
OPPORTUNITY FOR THE BEDDING INDUSTRY
With the pandemic, sleeping products are seeing a silent demand. Sub-15000 mattresses are selling more as the pandemic rages throughout the country. ‘’We should talk like this but there is a good opportunity in this situation,’’ says a local mattress retailer. People have suddenly become hygiene conscious and if you now push anti-bacterial products, there are higher chances of them buying. Even key mattress players in the market have been launching several initiatives and introducing innovative products and services to cater to a larger target audience during the pandemic.
WORKING FROM HOME IS A NEW BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY!
‘’I am serving a few clients who are shipping their workstations to their employee’s homes,’’ says Manish Bali, a logistics entrepreneur. ‘’Imagine when a developer gets his screens and the CPU home, where will he keep it? He has to buy a new table, a new chair to sit on comfortably. Perhaps he has to buy backup broadband, additional wireless access points,’’ says Manish. The list goes on. ‘’With people working from home and for long hours, a good night’s sleep is considered to be the perfect antidote and that’s what we should exploit,’’ says a retailer.
Spending has gone up on equipping home offices, kitchens, children’s online education, entertainment through broadband, personal hygiene, and packaged food. In cities like Bangalore, Chennai, and Hyderabad, predominantly knowledge sector cities, people in the age group of 24-35 have moved back to their native towns and villages. Many get an allowance to equip their home-work environment. ‘’Let me tell you that mattresses and pillows are essentials. If you come up with a good option to buy, I will buy,’’ says Manish.
COLLABORATE TO GET MORE BUSINESS
Here is an excellent chance for mattress retailers to collaborate with other product retailers. ‘’I have collaborated with local networking guys who install broadband. They sell my routers and webcams,’’ says Harish G, a computer hardware retailer.‘’I guess the same goes true for mattress retailers. They should consider collaborating,’’ says Harish. Mattress players are not sitting idle. ‘’We saw demand surge as the pandemic progressed. The last two months have been a surge in people asking for mattresses and other accessories,’’ says Pradeep Prabhakar, who owns Proline, a prominent upmarket mattress retail shop. He says some of the mattress retailers are collaborating with Furniture stores and home furnishing stores.
‘’We got to be more online savvy and create awareness about hygiene,’’ says Pradeep. It is evident from the flow in the market that mattress retailers have to take to online sales and marketing more aggressively. They can use social channels to push word-of-mouth sales.
With the rising Work from Home culture, people are spending more time at home, which has also led to the realization to get their current mattress replaced with a new one.
So how have you geared up yourself and your business to focus on the new business opportunities that have emerged along with Work from Home Lifestyle!