Currently, about 30 companies are producing the products locally, while there are six to eight foreign companies in the markets
The time when we had to depend solely on handmade pillow and mattress is long past as the market now brims with so many brands of machine-made bedding elements.
The pursuit of comfort, augmented by urbanization now extending up to the rural areas, coupled with enhanced buying capacity of people is driving the market, which is witnessing expansion every year.
Along with the capital, there is a sprawling market in all cities and upazila headquarters with hubs selling colourful pillows and other bedding items, which no household can do without.
Currently, about 30 companies are producing the products locally, while there are six to eight foreign companies in the markets.
“We attained more than 10% growth in both mattress and pillow sales last year," says Omar Faruque, national sales manager of Bengal Adhesive and Chemical Products Limited.
And the demand of the products is rising with urbanization, he adds, claiming that mattress market has almost doubled over the last five years while more small and medium entrepreneurs are coming to the sector.
Echoing him, Shahroze Husain, deputy managing director of Apex Foam Sleep Time, says they have also experienced a good growth in sales of the two products in the last few years.
“The sales have increased because of increased demands,” he mentions adding that apart from cities, fibre pillow and mattress are now selling even in the rural areas.
Changing taste, increased buying capacity, and rapid urbanization are the causes behind the increase in demand, believes Husain.
Inside the market
According to industry insiders, approximately 2,04,000 mattresses worth Tk102 crore and 2,88,000 pillows worth Tk15 crore of different brands are selling every year on an average.
About 1,000 people are working in the companies having an approximate investment of Tk150crore.
Apex, Swan, Karmo, Bengal, Akhter, EuroAsia, HomeTex, Fibre Touch, Champion, among others, are the prominent local brands of pillow and mattress.
Foreign brands Dollie, Feather, I-sleep, Mayfair Kay and several Chinese companies are also operating in the local market.
The local manufacturers import fabrics and polyester fibre as raw materials from China, Korea, Malaysia and Vietnams.
Visiting different markets including New Market, Malibagh, Khilgaon and Basundhara City Shopping Complex in the capital, Dhaka Tribune found traders selling brand pillows along with those they have made themselves.
These pillows are made with pure micro fibre of polyester or cotton-mixed polyester, instead of pure cotton used in handmade pillows.
Md Shariful Isalm, a New Market-based trader who has been in mattress-pillow business for 15 years, tells Dhaka Tribune that fibre pillows came to the markets about seven years ago.
Since then, he says, the sales of the pillows have continued to rise.
“Currently, I sell 12 to 15 brand and 35 to 40 handmade pillows per day,” added Shariful.
The fibre pillow is more comfortable, especially in winter, as it holds heat, he mentions, adding that the buyers prefer it for use at hotel, guest house and air conditioned room.
But when it comes to mattress, products of different brands were found selling the most, while a few outlets were seen taking orders for handmade mattress.
“Once, people were used to using handmade mattress but they were poor in quality compared to the brand ones,” said a trader from Khilgaon Taltola Market.
Despite higher prices, people now prefer brand mattresses for their better quality and sustainability. Most of the mattress companies offer 10 to 15 years' warranty.
There are five types of brand mattress in the markets — compressed foam made rebounded mattress, garments waste cotton made felt mattress, coconut-cod made coir mattress, spring made mattress and polyethylene sheet made PE mattress.
Prices of locally produced foam-fibre pillows vary between Tk280 and Tk1200 per piece depending on the brand, while prices of imported products range from Tk700 to Tk5100 per piece.
Non-brand pillows made with cotton sell at Tk400 to Tk900 per piece.
Besides, there are some low-priced pillows, made with mixed cotton and selling at Tk100-250.
Mattresses sell at different prices ranging from Tk4,000 to Tk55,000 per piece, depending on its elements, sizes and brands.
Of these, prices of spring mattresses are the highest, starting from Tk10,000 per piece, while coir mattresses are the lowest in price, available from Tk4,000 per piece. Other mattresses now sell at Tk350 to Tk900 per cubic metre on an average.
Non-brand handmade mattress can be found at Tk2,000 to Tk6,000 per piece.
Pillows of different brands hold about 20-25% share of the total pillow market. Among them, Home Tex, Euroasian, Akhtar and Apex have been found holding the sway over others.
On the other hand, non-brand garments waste and cotton-mixed pillow holds a 45-50% market share while pure cotton-made pillow holds about 25-30% share. Individual shops also make pillows.
In mattress market, the brand products occupy 70% to 75% share of the total market. Of different types, compressed foam-made rebounded mattress, and garments waste and cotton-made felt mattress sell the most.
Apex, Swan, Karmo brands are dominating mattress markets.
“Till now only 10% people having the buying capacity are using fibre pillow and mattress of different brands, while the rest 90% still remain unexplored,” says Bengal’s Omar Faruque.
Many people are yet unaware that such products are available while many who are aware do not buy them because they are a bit pricy, he explains.
The market will expand in the upcoming days, he hopes.
Agreeing with Omar Faruque, Apex’s DMD Shahroze Husain says previously only upper class people, especially those living in cities, would use imported mattresses.
“But the situation has changed,” he claims, adding that local companies are now meeting the demand now.
Pointing at the huge unexplored market outside the city, he says the market is expanding outside the cities, even to the rural areas.
Making consumers aware of the quality of products is the challenge, mentions Shahroze Husain.
He admits that it is really tough for the people to know what the mattresses are made of and how they are in terms of quality.
“Cashing in on this weakness, some unscrupulous manufactures are making mattresses with low-grade elements such as cot sheet, and cheating the consumers with false declaration,” he alleges.