P500k for a bed? Dunlopillo thinks booming PH market is ready
By now, just about everyone in the local business community—as well as a growing number of foreign businessmen—know that the Philippine economy is on a tear.
Everywhere you look, people are scrambling to take advantage of the rising spending power of the Filipino consumer. From selling more expensive cars to high-end condominium units to expensive fashion brands, local buyers are moving up the price ladder.
So given this trend, who’s to say that you can’t sell a high-tech high-end mattress to increasingly affluent Filipinos for P500,000? You heard it right: Dunlopillo, a famous UK brand of mattresses, beds and pillows, is now in town with a range of products that retails for as much as half a million pesos at the highest end of the range— that’s almost enough to buy one an entry level subcompact car.
But for Dunlopillo Philippines managing director Jam Chan, investing in a good night’s sleep is something whose returns are close to unquantifiable.
“Considering you spend about one-third of your 24-hour cycle in bed, and that the quality of your sleep has a big impact on how you function for the rest of your day, it’s very important for you to invest in quality,” she tells SundayBiz during the brand’s recent Philippine launch in Makati City.
Rattling off mattress names like Elizabeth, New Duchess, and Spineflex during the interview, Chan—whose family owns the Ital Design Furniture Depot business—extolled the virtues of their “unparalleled comfort and support for a refreshing, restful evening.”
“There’s always something you can find at Dunlopillo that fits your lifestyle,” she says, noting that different people prefer different kinds of mattresses. Some want their to sleep on firm beds, while some want to sink into them.
“We all know that getting enough sleep is hard enough as it is and the unique properties in each mattress are there to ensure that you find that comfort and relaxation you’ve been searching for,” she said.
Being a UK brand, of course, Dunlopillo is not as familiar to even affluent Filipino consumers compared to its US rivals, some of which have been in the local market for several years now.
Nevertheless, Dunlopillo officials believe their timing in introducing their products to the Filipino market is just right, given the strong economy which is allowing more consumers to aspire for higher end items that were once considered luxuries rather than necessities.
“You might ask why now?,” says Dunlopillo International managing director Thinaharan Muthusamy. “It is always never too late especially when we see the potential Dunlopillo and Ital Design can tap into the high end market within the bedding market.”
Indeed, the Philippines has emerged as one of the top countries among the new emerging economies in recent years alongside those of Peru, Indonesia, Colombia and Sri Lanka, replacing the likes of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
“According to foreign business media and trade offices, the Philippines is now considered to have the most favorable business climate with a growth forecast of 7 percent and above 8 percent for the coming year,” Thinaharan says. “Rapid economic growth would also mean bigger disposal income to the people.”
The Dunlopillo official also points to statistics from the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) and Pinnacle Research showing that, from 2013 to 2017, there are 301 ongoing condominium projects in Metro Manila totaling to 134,421 units.
The mid-market segment accounts for the largest chunk at 37 percent or 49,997 units. Studio and one- bedroom units account for 77 percent or 104,028 units. The high-end segment also continues to be vibrant, especially with the sales abroad and to foreigners.
“This augurs well for a brand like Dunlopillo, which is a trusted and well-known brand worldwide and we see that Philippines will be an important footprint for Dunlopillo’s growth in Asia,” Thinaharan says.
Naturally, the official expects that, as Filipinos rise in affluence, they will also become more discerning in their needs—houses, cars, clothes, and yes, even beds.
The new set of mattresses offer different levels of support, all with the quality that Dunlopillo is known for (in the European market at least, as well as former British colonies). Composed of the brand’s patented, naturally sourced Talalay Latex, the Elizabeth and Spineflex offer temperature control and a high level of elasticity ensuring mattress longevity. Meanwhile, New Duchess displays firm fiber padding, minimizing contact between mattress and metal spring for a sleep solution that lasts, the company says.
All three mattresses possess a revolutionary Individual Pocketed Springs (IPS) system that isolates movement. This minimizes partner displacement, allowing sleepers to enjoy continuous slumber with no interruptions. Meanwhile, a five-zone pocketed spring setup ensures that the body receives support where it is needed most.
Who would have thought that a bed would involve so much technology?
“Well, when you think about it, a bed is an investment that will last you 10 to 15 years, so it’s only proper that you invest in something that will last and will serve you well,” says Borja Solans of Grupo Pikolin, Dunlopillo’s Spanish partner in their Malaysian manufacturing operations. But is the Filipino consumer ready to part with substantial sums of money for… well… mattresses?
“I look around Manila and I can see that the local market is ready for our product,” Solans says.
Indeed, given the country’s strong economy and the number of high-end brands setting up shop in various malls, he could be right.