Love affair with Tempurpedic???

Hi Phoenix / all —

I have to say that I am truly perplexed by the love affair that most mattress store salesmen have with Tempurpedic.

All the friends I have who own them love them. And when I go to mattress stores, salesmen RAVE about them. I mean, they basically make it sound like it’s THE BEST and only option that they are confident in. Even when comparing against other very expensive mattresses- so not that they would make more money on the Tempurpedic than another comparable priced one? Unless Tempurpedic provides some additional kick backs or incentives to the stores and that’s why they never sell them for a discount. Or like some kind of hold back on volume like a car dealership. No idea. And yet, then you read several complaints about them and the softening, sagging, etc…- not from everyone, but certainly they are out there.

Do these mass mattress store salesmen just love them so much b/c it’s all relative and everything else they carry is such junk that Tempurpedic really is the gold standard? Are they really THAT good in the long run, or are they somehow making more money on selling Tempurpedic than other similiarly priced mattresses?

A few months ago, I would have said that I had a good deal of confidence in the long term durability of a Tempurpedic, but now after more research I am just not sure. I do think I have more confidence in Tempurpedic than many other brands of memory foam. But, perhaps memory foam of any kind just will not really hold it’s shape or support very long.

But, then I am totally confused why people that own them all seem to love them, and more so by why mattress salesmen at most stores just completely worship them?? And I mean, several different stores. Not just one- not even the same chain of stores. And they would all seem to bet their life on a Tempurpedic never coming back to them.

Hi Sleepless,

I’ve noticed the same thing … however there are a few reasons for it IMO besides the Tempurpedic name or even memory foam itself.

Many salespeople are on commissions which vary with the profit margin of the mattresses they sell and since Tempurpedic has a high in store profit margin and the pricing is more controlled than with other brands (less discounting) … this translates into higher commissions. Tempurpedic is also a more well known choice in the memory foam market and has the perception of being a “safe” memory foam choice because it has history. Most salespeople on commission also lose commissions for mattress returns (like in other industries) so from their perspective … tempurpedic is less risky because it at least does have the quality that reduces return rates (compared to cheaper knockoffs) … even if it is overpriced. They are also taught to “step up” their customers to get them as close as they can to the “best” and usually Tempurpedic is the reference point at the top of the pile so it is typically compared to other choices as being better than whatever else their customer is looking at. All sales training teaches people to “love” what they sell and then gives them reasons why this “love” is based on fact … whether or not it really is.

So the love affair is mostly programmed into them by sales training. In many cases they really are pre-conditioned into believing what they say since they (like most consumers) have little basis to make meaningful comparisons and are limited to what they have been taught. Their love of selling them and their belief that they really are the “best” makes them comes across as genuine. It is not an unusual phenomenon in various industries.

From the point of view of a consumer … memory foam is a confused market and once again “safe choices” makes a big difference in perceptions and justifications after a purchase. The sales process in a store is very “pre-conditioned” and “managed” and most of what people experience there can be steered into directions where they truly believe that what they are feeling or believing is the “truth”. It is amazingly easy to manipulate what people like in the environment of a mattress showroom and what they “like” will continue to be justified until there is a problem which is so obvious that it can’t be denied. This may often take several years and even then they may not “connect the dots” and realize that the materials in their mattress is the problem rather than the brand.

Much of the “love” some consumers have for Tempurpedic I believe is because they do not have the background or knowledge to know what else they could have purchased or compared it to and the justifications for what they purchase continues long after the sale itself. This is especially true with high priced mattresses. Of course part of this is also that memory foam itself has a unique feel and is a more polarizing choice (people tend to really like or dislike it). When people talk about Tempurpedic they are talking more about liking high quality memory foam even though they may not realize this and this translates into “Tempurpedic” in their mind so they “argue” for the brand rather than the material.

All of this is changing as more and more people realize that there are real choices in the memory foam market and that what they have come to believe through marketing and advertising is only part of the story. The iComfort has to some degree done the same thing and is differentiating itself as well with “gel memory foam” and a different memory foam identity and feel from Tempurpedic even though gel memory foam is also a commodity and used by many manufacturers in many different ways. This too is based on a conditioned sales environment and marketing which is also not based on factual information or the actual quality of materials used. The product is more about the story and how to get people to believe it than it is about reality.

The mattress industry is somewhat unique because people tend to “live with” and justify their choices for a long time and rarely do the research to really know or understand what they are buying because they do it so infrequently. They are much more at the mercy of the sales environment than with many other more “objective” purchases where consumer knowledge in general is much higher. Part of the problem as well which has fed into the Tempurpedic “reputation” is that so many companies compare their cheap low density memory foam mattresses with them and so few people even are aware of how to legitimately compare memory foam options. When the cheap knockoffs fail early … it tends to re-inforce the value of buying by brand name rather than by comparing high quality memory foam to high quality memory foam regardless of brand.

This is the same reason that over 70% of people are happy with whatever mattress they purchase … even though in many cases they are buying a low quality or value mattress or even a mattress that isn’t even suitable for them at all. Their point of reference is their old mattress and when they get their new purchase home they are amazed at how much better their new purchase feels than what they were sleeping on and don’t think about what they “could have had”. This is the same reason that almost all reviews that are based on subjective “I Like” factors are pretty much meaningless and mostly a form of self justification. A few months or years later their mattresses are “forgotten” and just another “piece of furniture” until the time comes to do it all over again.

If you pay for a mattress that should last 12 years and it actually lasts only 6, so much time has gone by that people have forgotten why they purchased what they did and rarely realize that they made a poor choice 6 years ago and they are once again subject to the sales environment, marketing stories and advertising.

The only things where Tempurpedic really is the “gold standard” is in name recognition in the memory foam market and in pricing and profit. As people tend to focus more on materials rather than brand … they will more and more realize that memory foam itself is a commodity with a wide range of qualities, feels, and value and be able to make more meaningful comparisons between “quality memory foam” and “quality memory foam” and recognize that the pros and cons of memory foam itself applies to all of them in different degrees. As more and more quality memory foam appears in the market and as more and more people realize they have choices that are not based on brand but on actually comparing the quality and characteristics of materials they are using … then the brand party will start to wind down and people will be more likely to compare materials in a meaningful way.

In the end … all memory foam will soften in the early weeks of use (which can either improve or detract from the feel) and higher density will last longer than lower density. Beyond this the different types of memory foam are about preference factors (heat retention, speed of recovery, etc) and the pros and cons of memory foam itself compared to other materials and different layering schemes rather than about a particular mattress brand.


Very interesting & good points!

I truly am beginning to think that given the garbage that most big chain mattress retailer sell, Tempurpedic really truly is the best quality they might have to offer. So, they really do believe in the hype. Everything in life is relative I suppose.