Mattress market has finally found its identity in Russia.
More and more people in Russia choose a bed and mattress as sleeping accomodation, especially in big cities among customers with average or higher than average income. Now mattress is not just an addition to bed, but almost the principal character in the bedroom, from the point of view of both customers and progressive civilized market, as sales of ready sleeping accommodations became profitable. This approach to mattress was formed by no means spontaneous: this is the achievement of market professionals. Thanks to them mattress became a separate entry in official statistics.
After being one of the most dynamic sectors on the furniture market in recent years, sleeping goods sector turned into a battlefield of overwhelming marketing wars. Although we see general growth rate reduction and the market is reaching mature phase, there still is a place for young players here. Here and there free niches are appearing; moreover, innovative research of types of mattress fillings retains its potential.
Further consolidation of sleeping goods market is a tangible result of competition in this sector. And if earlier marketing specialists were talking about the “big four”, producing the vast majority of mattresses, today we are dealing with the “big two”: “Askona” holding from Kovrov and “Ormatek” from Ivanovo, which satisfy more than 50% of demand for mattresses in Russia and develop branded retail chains on the federal level.
Unconditional leaders are followed by producers with 3% shares, as well as a remarkable group of new players (around a dozen), growing rapidly on their local markets with a market share around 1–3% each.
How are mattresses presented to the final customer in retail? In general, the level of retail presentation has definitely increased”, Roman Ershov, “Askona” Director General says, “In the first place thanks to development of new networks and franchising projects of producers. Our partners are quite professional in this sphere: they follow certain standards, give spaces, necessary for quality presentations, decorate bedrooms with various accessories etc. However, originally, there have been problems in another sphere — independent dealers. Even today they sometimes take mattresses as “filling” for beds. And still we see development in this direction. I think that eventually the market will put everything in place”.
“As for trade formats of specialized retail in the sleeping accommodation sector”, Dmitry Lukyanov, “Ormatek” says, “In recent years the most noticeable trend was increase of retail location space. As leading players have mastered their own production of beds and accessories, offering customers full-value bedding solutions, it is just natural that there was a need for more space to present these products. In recent years “Ormatek” has increased requirements for the minimal space of retail locations. In general, as product line becomes more varied, formats become bigger”.
Rising culture of sleeping accommodation in Russia leads to decrease of mattresses’ lifecycle in Russian homes, slowly but steadily. According to research, held by “Askona”, average lifespan of a mattress in Russia is around 15 years. At the same time in Moscow and Moscow region, St. Petersburg and Leningrad region (generating 40% of sales in the sector) it is much lower now — 9 years. Big cities become main drivers for further decrease of this rate. However, Russia is yet to go a long way to reach average European standards of 10-12 years.
“Market slowdown is always characterized by more interesting marketing wars”, Alexander Aluf, Commercial Director of official representative of Belarusian furniture factory “Vegas” in Russia says, “Producers are looking for and introducing new effective technological solutions in production and materials. On the one hand, by doing so they aim to decrease their expenses to get additional advantage on the price level; on the other hand — they are introducing new materials to the market. In general, this allows producer to compete successfully on the market”.
“Our company is following new developments in up-to-date materials with interest, we are using them in our batch production. But, as promotion of innovative products always takes time and a lot of money, their share in our portfolio does not exceed 10%”, Roman Knude, “Consul” Commercial Director says.
Of course, the main requirement did not change — just like before, customers wish to relax with comfort, on bedding products, which help solve their health issues (spine), or, as a minimum, don’t provoke any new problems. Based on this aim, players on the market compete for customers, creating new values, which can make relaxation and sleep better, and, as a result, take quality of life to a new level.
There still are resources for further increase of volume and boost of demand in the mattresses sector. Advantageous conditions for players include free niches, high-technology innovations from materials suppliers, used by market leaders for creating unique competitive advantages of their own products. Despite gradual decrease of buying activity and average cost, mattresses producers still have a wide field for marketing activities.
“The main outcome of recent years — mattress category in Russia has successfully evolved into a separate full-value market”, Roman Ershov from “Askona” says, “All leading producers today manufacture full-value bedding products, offering customers bedding accommodation which is ready to use and boasts of orthopaedic qualities. At the same time even in mature economies, share of specialized retail on the mattress market does not exceed 40-45%, which is conditioned by different scenarios and motives behind purchases. We never thought that Russia will have its own special way. But bearing in mind that retailers specializing on mattresses today account for just 17% of the market, there is potential for growth. And positions of specialized retailers on the market of bedding products are set to strengthen”.