The mattress market is firmly in the grip of the unorganised sector, led by the street-side shop and the local ginner. Coarse cotton, the filler for these mattresses, is the cheapest of the many options that are now available and thus, the choice of the masses. No estimate is available for the turnover in this market but it’s safe to assume that they could run into several hundreds of crore. The organised segment, on the other hand, is beginning to develop and currently has a market estimated at Rs. 980 crore (US$ 204.20 million). As in several other segments in India, the pecking order is determined by costs. Coir is the overwhelming leader with a value share of Rs. 876 crore (US$ 175.20 million) and a volume share that could exceed 98% (Source: market data). The balance is divided unequally between spring and foam fillers. The former controls Rs. 70 crore (US$ 14 million) while foam makes up the balance Rs. 34 crore (US$ 6.80 million) (Source: market estimates). There are few national players, but for a market this small competition is surprisingly intense. It is estimated that over 150 regional brands and several scores of clones operate here, offering rock bottom prices compensated by modest quality. Kurlon is the category leader notching up sales of Rs. 380 crore (US$ 79.20 million) translating into a share of nearly 39% of the organised market. While sales happen year long they are subjected to spikes during the festive and marriage seasons. There is also an established correlation between housing development and the sale of mattresses. The recent downturn in the housing sector had an adverse impact on the mattress market. But this minor hiccup notwithstanding the organised market has grown 20% year-on122
year. Much of this is almost certainly attributed to improving life styles and consumer discounts and the high dealer incentives offered by regional players.
Kurlon’s journey has been a long one, punctuated with the efforts of millions of manhours devoted to the ostensibly simple task of telling audiences the benefits – and need – for a good night’s rest. The fact is that in a country where large swathes comprise people living on the margin it’s hard to sell comfort when the economics of eking out a living itself taken precedence. Despite this road block the achievements of Kurlon have been very significant: it accomplished the singularly difficult task of selling a concept that actually helped create an entire industry. Kurlon, today, has evolved into a company which offers mattresses in 126 different configurations and exports its products to the UAE, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain in the Middle East, to all SAARC countries as well as the markets of South East Asia and the Far East. In India it has a dominating market leadership; research has suggested that the brand enjoys a
top-of-mind awareness of a staggering 80%. Everything else being equal, this would mean that in a future purchase Kurlon would be in the consideration set of at least 80% of all customers, giving the company an extraordinary edge over other brands. For its fine achievements, awards have been quick in coming. The Coir Board of India has honoured Kurlon with many citations over the years. For the past 15 years it has won the Coir Board of India's awards for Outstanding Performance in Export of Rubberised Coir Products, Development of the Domestic Market for Rubberised Coir, Best Export Performance at the State Level and the award for being the Largest Domestic Trader of Coir and Coir Products. With a countrywide dealer network of 5000, Kurlon provides direct employment to over 1000 people and indirect employment to hundreds of thousands of coir workers across the sub-continent.
Kurlon Limited, a Manipal Group company, was founded in 1962 by Ramesh Pai, who on a trip to Germany discovered that car seat cushions were being manufactured with rubberised
curled coir from Sri Lanka. On his return,...