The Influence of Chinese Mattress Brands in the Singapore Market

by Sophia

1. Introduction


The china king mattress in singapore industry has developed continuously, and safety factors involved in people’s sleep at rest, as well as the continuous emergence of negative news from some international mattress brands. People slowly are turning their attention to China’s own brand, and in those emerging markets, brand competition mainly with the United States and European brands. However, the development of the domestic market has not been smooth. In the face of the impact of the global financial crisis, the cost of raw materials such as cotton and steel has increased considerably, various mattress manufacturers have put pressure on it in this low-profit industry. Most of the china queen mattress enterprises have already felt the domestic market’s too big pressure. In order to maintain market demand and improve the competitive advantage of the china queen mattress in singapore enterprise, they started the international market and standardized mass production of mattresses which once belonged to the first-grade factory and plug. The international market entry of Chinese mattress brands is very difficult because they are faced with the prejudice of foreign consumers, the negative mentality of the said good and good premises. After all, most of the mattress brands come from the United States and Europe. However, the quality of some Chinese enterprises in the products has the price advantage, and although there is a small reputation, in the international mattress market still occupies a very large share.

As people have become increasingly concerned with the trend of healthy sleep in recent years, the industries of sleep have also expanded, such as the well-fed clothes, the industry of sleep products, and so on. Driven by various economic development factors and the improvement of residents’ income levels, China’s mattress industry has been rapidly developed. Since the reform and opening up, foreign advanced production management technology and advanced equipment have advanced China’s mattress industry. We can see all kinds of world-famous mattress brands in this international market, and Chinese mattress brands are not well known for their relative poor quality. However, it is difficult to think about that most of today’s first-line mattress brands are produced in China, such as IKEA, HETAIDI, TEMPUR, SUEING, and so on.

1.1. Background and Significance


The type of customer engaging this kind of business acquires a contemporary meaning from his purchase, which influences his lifestyle and can be integrated together with his rest to other activities and functionalities, which go more and more into a “fit” and innovative blend of interests, needs and personal characteristics; the certainty to buy a product and a bed system, a mattress in the first place, that sustains him in a perfect relaxation balance, seems to be a necessary condition for many clients ready to accept rather high prices. In this scenario, the foreign demand for mattresses seems to have some specific targets and references in that there are few companies compared to the dominated worldwide ones that can or have decided to qualify themselves and innovate together with the bed market, although the technologies and projects in the countries’ factories are also of a high level of quality. The presented research has been conducted using a mix of deductive and inductive qualitative research methodology, mainly based on secondary data, such as national statistical data: Mirsat (Singapore Trade Statistics) and a field observation and some unstructured interviews. The majority of the data examined demonstrates that the market share of companies is heavily anchored to offer that is stuffing, on the one hand, of goods and habits; goodness on the other hand, has to do with the aesthetic utility of the object and comfort to which the same object is cared for. This being the current relative advance, and the particular and aggressive strategies of the dominant global companies to Chinese producers, the following paper documents the formulation of broader cases to guide the new orientations of the companies that have as their goal the conquest of the mattress market in the long term by balancing product innovation with the promotion of ever-different lifestyles in the world.

Buying a mattress is serious business. Not only is it often a significant investment, but it also has the power to influence the way one feels and performs throughout the day. Given that people spend approximately 33% of their lives sleeping, the comfort provided by the mattress becomes crucial. With that in mind, it becomes incredibly important to choose a quality mattress brand that is also suited to one’s personal needs and style of sleeping. Therefore, any observation on the diffusion of specific mattress brands into foreign countries is valuable information that the brand managers can use to monitor and size the market, plan further penetration or excite specific actions to contrast the incursion of not-spontaneously preferred competitors that could have an impact on the brand equity of the products. The aim of this study is, therefore, exploring Singapore’s mattress market, as a selected country to highlight the influence of converging macro forces upon the mattress business, and present temperature in order to have an understanding of potential scenarios by national and foreign manufacturers in this segment of the greater bed sector.

2. Chinese Mattress Brands


Mattress is an important consumer product which can affect daily life. At present, Chinese mattress brands have a relative low level of brand awareness in the international market but their quantity has become one driving force. Their influence in the world market composed of them, because they have had a developing trend due to their outstanding marketing performance. Chinese mattress companies from different areas have different market positioning and market channels worldwide. In order to compare and critically evaluate, Matressxpert summarizes the top 50 mattress manufacturers ranked in the list of world top 100 mattress manufacturers prepared by The cover: 16 of the world top 100 manufacturers are leading Chinese mattress companies, and together producing 3.72 million mattresses and creating 4.15 billion US dollars. 20 of the world top 100 manufacturers are North American mattress companies, such as Comfort Bedding and Sealy brand.

During the last 20 years, more and more Chinese brands have appeared on the world stage. These Chinese brands have attempted to grow their presence, not only domestically in China, but also globally. Globalization has become mainstream and an important phenomenon in the business world. It is a steady trend that Chinese companies have expanded under the opportunities of global market opening and regional economic integration. A leading industry in global business that has undergone steady internationalization is the mattress industry. It is already known that a few Chinese mattress brands have gone global, but the question remains as to how they form their internationalization strategies and what their influencing factors are. With the aim to provide the theoretical basis and practical reference for Chinese mattress brands to establish their international business models and to globalization, this research of international business for Chinese mattress brands tries to provide the answers.

2.1. Overview of Chinese Mattress Industry


The author of the article, “Mattress Brand Selection Behaviour: The Influence of Store Type, Product Knowledge, and Product Involvement,” argued that product knowledge is a complex process and is seen as one of the determinants of price and brand awareness. What is inside the mattress is a black box, and manufacturers do not inform the customers generally. Consumers are usually attracted by the promise of a more comfortable sleep, although what determines the comfort of the bed was one question frequently raised by sleeping in mattress research. Chinese mattress industries are suffering from price competition and reducing profit margins, which made the majority of these manufacturers even turn to international trade practices. In the situation, consumers are less capable of making purchasing decisions. As a result, brand and channel become important indicators for purchasing decisions. A trustful mattress brand may be a guarantee of the quality of the mattress.

According to the report, the overall distribution and channel services in the mattress market from China Industry Information said, “At present, the number of mattress production enterprises has exceeded 4,000 in China, of which the number of foam mattress production enterprises is the largest, about 1,800. There are more wholesale mattress distributors in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, and the market scale is between 4 billion and 5 billion RMB. There are a large number of retail enterprises in Zhejiang and Foshan, which can sell 20,000 mattress products through franchises each year, while bedding shops also support with 30,000 to 50,000 pieces of quilt support.” It is noted that there are more than 4,000 mattress factories, especially located in Zhejiang and Foshan, but with more than 1,600 foam mattress factories located close to each other. It is believed that the number has increased since the statistics had been made a few years ago. Therefore, competition among these enterprises is becoming more and more fierce. What the Chinese mattress industry has indicated is that enterprises are stuck with homogeneous products and thus are unable to develop outstanding products.

2.2. Key Players


Simmons China is one of the key international players in the China market. The brand has been in operation in China for about 15 years and is considered the player who is most in tune with the local market. It has already developed a service training module for the enhancement of customer service. Simmons was the first among the high-end bedding brands in China to establish operations in first-tier cities and has arranged prolific bedscape culture activities nationwide.

As one of the first few players in the China mattress market, Sunon has achieved remarkable results due to its innovative value proposition. It managed to acquire distribution channel leadership and currently has a presence in over 50 countries worldwide. Sunon is also the largest mattress supplier in China, leading the bedding industry with its first-class product innovation.

3. Market Penetration in Singapore


The Chinese mattress brands started penetrating the Singapore market around 1-2 years after the AECN and DTA were signed. The largest number of brands was assessed using multi-dimensional research methods as how they managed to penetrate Singapore and their performance. Although the entry mode of a business makes a significant difference to the success of an overseas expansion, little research has been conducted on the entry mode used by Chinese mattress companies, especially when they are penetrating the Singapore market. The three main reasons for Singapore mattress companies to set up a factory in China are sales growth opportunities, lower costs, and easier access to mainland China. These factors were extracted into the six entry variables of the research model. Due to the influence of important people as well as quick decision-making processes, the direct sales subsidiary method (i.e., FDI) was found to be the preferred entry mode of about 30% of the Singapore mattress factories in China. If overseas expansion is the firm’s degree of control and substantially improves the ability to monitor and respond to changes in overseas environments, the preferred entry mode should be either a joint venture or over 50.1% subsidiary. The qualitative results indicated that the Singapore mattress companies used different entry modes depending on their different asset types to select different entry modes. The research results also verify the repeated argument that the increase in degree of competition by opportunistic entrants may be the root cause of government caution with regard to these approvals. In other words, the preferred entry mode would have a significant influence on the performance outcomes, such as location, knowledge of current market, resource commitments, dependence, flexibility, as well as number of years in the market, and can indirectly influence the outcome variables.

3.1. Trends and Consumer Preferences


With increasing living standards, consumer markets of all nations have begun to transform from physically demanding consumption to more qualitative demands centered on the living environment. China’s well-acknowledged economic and technological advancement, compared to the past, creates both diversity and complexity in consumer lifestyle that, at the same time, have provided enterprises with opportunities to study consumer trends and preferences. When designing production, products, and services, it is crucial for enterprises to understand consumer demands and preferences in order to enhance their market competition by delivering the required satisfaction to their potential customers. We select beds and mattresses as the criteria to explain the preferences of the Singapore market in Chinese and international mattress offerings and use questionnaires to collect the data. We analyze customer preferences of different national mattress brands using various demographic, economic, and psychographic factors by applying DVR and ANOVA using SPSS, finding the most important and popular items for Asian customers, providing Chinese branding and marketing suggestions, and conducting industrial contributions.

According to statistics, as of 2010, China’s mattress and sofa production actually ranked first in the world, playing an indispensable role in the global market. In China, the annual market growth rate of the domestic mattress market started to slow down after 2014, while the domestic market for mattresses still has a broad market space due to the gradual increase in residents’ income and the accelerated pace of people’s social life. With the growing demand of consumers at home and abroad and the gradually mature brand construction of domestic companies, China has quietly become a major world producer and exporter of mattresses.

4. Quality and Innovation


To boost the use of mattress brands, the national major special project formulated under China’s national innovation-driven development strategy for major research and development action plans involved 10 important brand matrix supporting platforms such as R&D centers, high-end industrial clusters, major landmarks, major exhibitions, and national innovation demonstration. International vector-oriented development was initiated by many mattress firms to cope with and respond to the rapid development of the global economy. The Chinese mentality of facing globalization had transformed from a relinquishment mindset into a long-term resoluteness plan. Today, the global top five mattress firms include Serta, Sealy, Simmons, Tempurpedic, and Silentnight, which have maintained intricate advanced global operational features and have upheld quality awareness images to form their respective brand advantages. The accomplishment of these brands sustained unique success for over 20 years with the depletion of the original Michael Porter competitive advantage.

Quality and innovation: Both foreign and local brands sought to boost market credibility by obtaining certifications such as mite removal tests and ozone depletion test certifications. 27.7% of the surveyed companies held national-level certifications where the respective quality standards are recognized by the CIQ or AQSIQ agencies, and 25.6% were holders of professional-level certifications where the quality standards are recognized by authorized institutions. The average number of patents held by survey respondents based on the Beijing survey consisted of 45.0% of the local mattress firms and 28.8% of the foreign mattress firms. On the other hand, the average number of patents held by survey respondents based on the Jiaxing survey respectively was 35.8% and 32.3% respectively.

4.1. Technological Advancements


Thus, the use of memory foam mattresses or mattresses other than innerspring mattresses is particularly widespread in young adults. The preferred choice of mattress for elderly consumers is still the innerspring. The acceptance of new materials, new technology, or new styles in mattresses will be higher in the future due to other influencing factors and the rapid advancement in modern technology.

Memory foam is a kind of high-density foam and touch pressure-sensitive, which can quickly shape the specific surface of the anatomic shape. This unique characteristic of memory foam can help the sleepers avoid squeezing their bones and capillaries due to long-time stress and nerve compression. In addition, memory foam also has the characteristics of shock vibration, slow shock energy absorption, reduced intra sleep disturbance, and enhanced sleeping quality. It can also relieve back pain, neck and shoulder pain, and the feeling of depression, thereby improving the quality of the sleeper’s sleep.

Technological advancements are predominantly manifested in the materials used in the production of mattresses. New materials are added to traditional ones or utilized in new technology to create the latest trends in mattresses. Innerspring mattresses or hybrids are still the most widely sought after. The trend towards memory foam or latex mattresses is particularly discernible in the younger segment.

5. Conclusion and Future Outlook


Contrary to reports that Chinese mattresses are perceived as inexpensive and are associated with lower quality, the present study found that although the majority of mattress suppliers identified consumers’ perception as average or inferior, it was the special features of Chinese mattresses that made them popular among customers. Consumers are very resistant to spending on mattresses due to being intangible and not easy to inspect. Therefore, the future of traditional store retailers is worried, and foreign projects and e-commerce platforms such as IKEA and Lazada are substitutes and more threatening. Being able to choose a good mattress without leaving home is convenient for consumers. It is indeed a challenging and crucial task for both retailers and mattress suppliers. Again, the improvement of quality is not an easy task, creating a win-win Chinese mattress market. However, the brand positioning proposed by the research contributes to business operation guidelines being available to Chinese mattress professionals.

This research focused on the assessment of the preference of consumers for Chinese mattress brands in Singapore. An overwhelming majority of the responses pointed to the consumers’ preference for Chinese mattresses, showing their preference for Chinese brands which enjoy upmarket appeal. The gap between perception and expectation indicates a substantial potential and developmental space for Chinese mattresses, although consumers have different expectations when purchasing mattresses. In conclusion, by using the SERVQUAL model to measure the possibilities of acceptance for Chinese mattresses, this research is beneficial for mainland Chinese mattress manufacturers or business newcomers, and the results are presented as a reference to help them have a better understanding of the Singapore market. With advances in quality, the acceptance of consumers could be improved in both short and long-term prospects.

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