Consumer Products

Products that are bought by individuals or households for personal use

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What are Consumer Products?

Consumer products, also referred to as final goods, are products that are bought by individuals or households for personal use. In other words, consumer products are goods that are bought for consumption by the average consumer. From a marketing perspective, there are four types of consumer products, each with different marketing considerations.

Consumer Products - Image of a man pushing a cart through a supermarket aisle

Types of Consumer Products

  1. Convenience products
  2. Shopping products
  3. Specialty products
  4. Unsought products

Convenience Products

Convenience products are bought the most frequently by consumers. They are bought immediately and without great comparison between other options. Convenience products are typically low-priced, not-differentiated among other products, and placed in locations where consumers can easily purchase them. The products are widely distributed, require mass promotion, and are placed in convenient locations.

Sugar, laundry detergent, pencils, pens, and paper are all examples of convenience products.

Characteristics of Convenience Products

  • Purchased frequently
  • At a low price point
  • Easily available
  • Not commonly compared with other products

Shopping Products

Shopping products are bought less frequently by consumers. Consumers usually compare attributes of shopping products, such as quality, price, and style, between other products. Therefore, shopping products are more carefully compared, and consumers spend considerably more time, as opposed to convenience products, comparing alternatives. Shopping products require personal selling and advertising and are located in fewer outlets (compared to convenience products) and selectively distributed.

Airline tickets, furniture, electronics, clothing, and phones are all examples of shopping products.

Characteristics of Shopping Products

  • Purchased less frequently
  • At a medium price point
  • Commonly compared among other products

Specialty Products

Specialty products are products with unique characteristics or brand identification. Consumers of such products are willing to exert special effort to purchase specialty products. Specialty products are typically high priced, and buyers do not use much time to compare them against other products. Rather, buyers typically spend more effort in buying specialty products compared to other types of products.

Take, for example, a Ferrari (a specialty product). Purchasers of a Ferrari would need to spend considerable effort sourcing the car. Specialty products require targeted promotions with exclusive distribution; they are found in select places.

Sports cars, designer clothing, exotic perfumes, luxury watches, and famous paintings are all examples of specialty products.

Characteristics of Shopping Products

  • With unique characteristics or brand perception
  • Purchased less frequently
  • At a high price point
  • Seldom compared between other products
  • Only available at select/special places

Unsought Products

Unsought products are products that consumers do not normally buy or would not consider buying under normal circumstances. Consumers of unsought products typically do not think about these products until they need them. The price of unsought products varies. As unsought products are not conventionally thought of by consumers, they require aggressive advertising and personal selling.

Diamond rings,  pre-planned funeral services, and life insurance are all examples of unsought products.

Characteristics of Shopping Products

  • Not top-of-mind of consumers
  • Requires extensive advertising and marketing efforts

Importance of Understanding the Types of Consumer Products

Understanding whether products are convenience, shopping, specialty, or unsought is very important. As noted above, each type requires different marketing efforts.

For example, it would not make sense to expend considerable marketing efforts on sugar. There is little differentiation between different brands of sugars and spending money on advertising would not play a role in changing consumer perception.

On the other hand, unsought products would require considerable marketing efforts. As a consumer, purchasing life insurance is not top-of-mind; consumers do not normally think about it. Therefore, considerable marketing and advertising efforts are required to make unsought products known and to warrant a purchase by consumers.

Additional Resources

Thank you for reading CFI’s guide on Consumer Products. To keep learning and advancing your career, the following CFI resources will be helpful:

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