In this blog post, we will discuss the foam mattress market in India, the manufacturing process involved, adulteration methods used by manufacturers, the cost structure of manufacturing and the testing methods of various density foams.
The market size of the Indian mattress industry is close to 10,000 Crores (INR) and is comprised of Rubberized Coir, PU foam, Spring and Latex Rubber foam mattresses. The industry has been growing at a CAGR of 8-10% (for last 5 years) with 70% of the industry being unorganized and 30% of the industry being organized. Among the organized market, PU Foam contributes to 50% of the market followed by Coir at 30% and Spring at 20% of the market. Traditionally, the share of rubberized coir mattresses used to be as high as 50% of the Indian market, but PU Foam has largely dominated the market in the last few decades.
Major Indian companies operating in the mattress market of India are Kurlon Enterprise Limited, Sheela Foam Limited, Peps Industries Pvt. Ltd., Springwel Mattresses Pvt. Ltd., Coirfoam (India) Private Limited, Duroflex India, Godrej Interio (GI) and Springfit Marketing Inc. Major international companies operating in the mattress market of India includes Sealy India Trading Pvt. Ltd., Emirates Sleep Systems Pvt. Ltd. and Simmons Bedding & Furniture (India) Pvt. Ltd.
About Polyurethane Foams
Broadly, foams come in three types – polyurethane (PU), memory foam and latex rubber foam. PU foam and Memory foam both are polyurethanes but memory foam has additional chemical composition to provide the contraction and retention. So, it is important to understand Polyurethane Foams in detail and the cost structure.
At its core, manufacturing a polyurethane foam is similar to making a cake. You have a batter and then you bake it (causing it to expand) and you get a fluffy cake. Similarly, you have a chemical mix which when exposed to a blowing agent and a catalyst causes the mix to expand and cool down to become a foam.
Polyurethane foams are prepared by the reaction of a polyisocyanate with a polyol in the presence of a blowing agent, a surfactant, and a catalyst without external heating of the foaming system. The principle of preparation of urethane foams is based on the simultaneous occurrence of two reactions, i.e., polyurethane formation and gas generation in the presence of catalyst and surfactant, as shown below. While polyurethane polymers are used for a vast array of applications, their production method can be broken into three distinct phases. First, the bulk polymer product is made. Next, the polymer is exposed to various processing steps. Finally, the polymer is transformed into its final product and shipped.
PU Foams come in two types – flexible and rigid PU foams. In flexible polyurethane foams, the major blowing agent is water and, at the same time, auxiliary blowing agents, i.e., low–boiling–point inert solvents such as CFC–11, methylene chloride, can be used. But in the case of rigid polyurethane foams, the major blowing agent has been CFC–11, which vaporizes due to the exothermic reaction of polyurethane formation.
Major Raw-Material Suppliers in India
The major suppliers for Polyol are:
- Manali Petrochemical Ltd. (MPL) 50,000 MT per annum from two grass root polyol plants located at Chennai.
- Narmada Chematur Petrochemical Ltd. 18,000 MT per annum is the present capacity. A new green field plant of 50000 MT per annum is under construction
- Expanded Polymer Systems 24,000 MT per annum for manufacture of Polyester & Polyether Polyol
The major suppliers for Catalysis / Additives / Surfactants are:
Cost Structure of a PU Foam Queen Mattress (78x60x4″)
Mattresses are adulterated with Calcium Carbonate to make up the mass of the mattress instead of using the polychemicals to make up the mass of the product. The higher the adulteration in the foam, the more the mattress gets flattened with usage and the slower the foam comes back into shape. Ideally, pure foam lasts for atleast 10 years without flattening even on heavy usage. Below example shows the cost structure of a pure foam queen mattress and the cost of 50% adulterated foam queen mattress for a manufacturer.
Testing of PU Foam Densities
The foams that are generally used in the mattresses that have already found their way into your homes are largely adulterated. They contain calcium carbonate as an inexpensive filler, to make up the ‘mass’ of the mattress. The higher the adulteration, the slower the foam comes back into shape.
Fundamentally, foam quality is measured by its ability to come back into shape after usage (compression). IFD Test is one of the tests to clearly understand the quality of any foam as shown below in the video.
Packing and Shipping the Foam Mattress
Since mattress is a volumetric product, it will take significant space for storage and shipping if the product is shipped as is. Therefore, there is a unique solution to compress the mattress and then ship it. The below picture shows the compressed mattress (compressed size – 30×12″) of the original Queen sized mattress.
Globally, the mattress industry has advanced and there are many international brands with technologically superior products available in the market. But, the Indian mattress industry is still far behind. This is primarily because Indian consumers are unaware about the significance of using a mattress on one’s health. India is still an emerging market for mattresses as people here look for good quality products at lower prices.
With the advent of GST and the launch of global brands, the traditionally unorganized market of foam mattresses is shifting towards an organized market. A huge set of social, cultural and taxation changes too are driving this behavior towards an organized market of foams in India and towards reaching global standards in foams.
Hope this blog is useful to get a brief understanding of the mattress industry.