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In-depth: The rise of India’s online sleep aid industry

Sleep has become a commodity and a whole lot of start-ups are now cashing in on this segment. finds what has led to the growth of online sleep solution providers and how this sector presents a wide opportunity for others to jump in

We all know about the importance of sleep but brands definitely are waking up to this now. The traditional ‘gadde-wala’ is now becoming passé with the boom of sleep solution providers in India. However, what is noteworthy is the sudden rise of the online sleep economy. 

While offered a ‘Sleep Internship’ to celebrate healthy sleep, others like SleepyCat offered a 30-day free trial.

This all to ensure a good night’s sleep. digs deeper to understand what factors are fuelling the growth of the online sleep economy and how big it has become.

Brands such as The Sleep Company, and SleepyCat discuss how the segment will evolve in the future and how important it is for any brand to keep the messaging right in this space.

Harshil Salot

With start-ups fuelling the conversation around sleep, Harshil Salot, Co-Founder, The Sleep Company, said that this economy still remains ambiguous in terms of size and numbers. However, he said, “Unofficially what I understand, the online sleep economy, considering the websites and all the aggregators like Amazon and Flipkart, would be in the range of around 500 plus crore.”

Growth drivers:

Salot pointed out three factors that led to the boom in online players selling mattresses or sleep solutions. All the brick and mortar stores have a very high margin, which makes the end product more costly.  Consumers are not able to get the best price. The lack of knowledge and awareness among retailers, or even customers, around the kind of mattresses or other products, leading to confusion about the purchasing decisions.

Many of these online start-ups provide limited products, he said. They have very few models, which they have perfected based on their research and assessment, thereby not confusing the customer with too many choices and offering them the best.

Kabir Siddiq

Kabir Siddiq, Founder and CEO, SleepyCat, pointed out that the traditional brick and mortar stores are not able to provide customers the best experiences in terms of products. SleepyCat provides customers a 30-day free trial to ensure they are satisfied with the quality before even purchasing it.  “Customers need something that feels better and have greater experience and it can be returned if not suited. If they go to a fancy store, it is going to cost them a bomb. So now, they're on the lookout for a cheaper, better product with a great service. The budding online companies provide products that are more achievable, easy to shop for and are affordable.”

Siddiq said even distribution is not a challenge nowadays as technology allows to compress the mattress in small boxes that are just three feet high. 

Chaitanya Ramalingegowda

Chaitanya Ramalingegowda, Co-Founder,, said the industry has been structured recently. Earlier, everyone used to look at it as individual products. The growth has to be attributed to the change in the consumer’s mind set as well. They are talking about quality sleep and quality products that give them a sound experience.

Market the sleep right!

Ramalingegowda pointed out that the industry is still developing with its key marketing messages and at a very nascent stage.

So right now, any brand that wants to communicate its messaging around sleep should try to be very creative and funny in a distinct manner. “You can’t take the traditional route of installing a fear in them or telling them what lack of sleep can do to them, it doesn’t bother them. Your message should be clutter-breaking.”

Salot said newer brands need to find a separate niche for themselves. “Rather than just becoming one of the many people selling the similar proposition, if you can find a different type of niche by yourself, there's a very high probability of success and growth,” he said.

Talking about the right medium for brands to connect with audiences to provide them sleep solutions, Siddiq said they should take the digital route. 65% of the population is now under the age of 34, and they are the people most sleep-deprived. They are on digital and this medium is the cheapest way.

Future trends:

Salot said the one trend he can strongly predict is that the share of online space is going to grow quite fast and very soon. “I see the online space definitely increasing because there is a lot of innovation that has happened in terms of packaging. Products are directly reaching the consumer’s doorsteps. The products are very well researched and developed by the companies. So it's convenient for the shopper and with a very good price point as well.”

The Sleep Company is growing at more than 50% on a month on month basis.

Siddiq said their primary product is mattress. However, products such as air purifier or wearable, anything that enhances the quality of sleep, comes under the sleep economy. So, there is a lot of opportunity for brands to offer more products. A lot of new start-ups will follow the league and start offering complete solutions.

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