Main Types of Consumer Products (With Examples of Each)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated July 22, 2022

Published November 12, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A person looking at the price tag on a lamp.

Consumer products, also called consumer (or final) goods, are products purchased for personal use. Consumer products are sold directly for the customer to use and are not intended for continued production or resale. Most consumer goods are displayed on shelves in a store or available for sale online.

In this article, we define the primary types of consumer products, identify some of their main characteristics and offer examples of each type.

Key takeaways

  • Consumer products are goods sold for their own utility or enjoyment.

  • Consumer goods can be categorized based on consumer behavior and how people shop​​—and how often they shop—for the products, which factor heavily into marketing the products.

Understanding the types of consumer products

For marketing purposes, it's important to understand the differences between the types of consumer products, as each type of product will require certain tactics. 

For example, if you're selling a highly sought-after product, you likely won't need to spend as much money on marketing and advertising for it. However, if your product is considered an unsought good, you will want to take a more aggressive marketing and advertising approach to ensure consumers are enticed to purchase the product.

The better you understand each type of consumer product, the better you can cater your marketing efforts for that specific good to the proper market for increased sales.

Types of consumer products

The following are the four most common types of consumer products offered by businesses:

Convenience products

A convenience product is typically purchased often and appeals to a large market base. Consumers regularly buy convenience products to meet their needs and tend to have little concern for where they buy the product.

Characteristics of convenience products

  • Bought frequently

  • Low-priced

  • Easily accessible

For example, a candy bar would be considered a convenience product. This product is available in a variety of places, including gas stations, vending machines and grocery stores. The consumer likely isn't too picky about where they would buy the product and probably won't develop loyalty to a particular store when it comes to purchasing candy bars. Additionally, customers rarely spend much time comparing one candy bar to another but instead purchase candy bars with little thought.

Other common convenience products include:

  • Laundry detergent

  • Toothpaste

  • Vitamins

  • Cleaning supplies

  • Beverages

Convenience products are the most common type of goods purchased by consumers and are widely distributed and therefore require mass production. They typically require much less promotion through marketing compared to other types of products.

Related: Product Strategies: What They Are and How To Write One

Specialty products

Specialty products are those that have unique characteristics or are associated with a particular brand. People who purchase specialty products carefully source these products and develop loyalty to the company that produces or sells them. Specialty products are typically priced higher than other types of products. Hence, many consumers put more stock in buying this type of product due to its perceived value and ticket price.

Characteristics of specialty products

  • Standout attributes 

  • Unique brand perception

  • Higher price point

  • Available only at select locations

For example, a Porsche is an example of a specialty product. This product can only be purchased through a Porsche dealership and is known for its unique characteristics. Porsche vehicles are also specifically recognizable due to the storied Porsche brand. Consumers spend a considerable amount of time sourcing Porsches and are willing to pay a higher price for this car than competing vehicle brands.

Here are a few more examples of specialty products:

  • Watches

  • Designer clothing

  • Luxury vehicles

  • Perfumes

Most specialty products can only be purchased in select stores and are bought much less frequently than convenience products. They can sell based on reputation and word of mouth but require promotional advertising to spread awareness of the availability of the product beyond niche, dedicated buyers.

Related: The 5 Stages of the Consumer Decision-Making Process

Shopping products

Shopping products are products that are purchased less frequently than convenience products but more frequently than specialty products. These products can range in price, style and quality, and consumers often spend a great deal of time comparing shopping products before purchasing them. Shopping products are available in fewer locations than convenience products because they are distributed selectively.

Characteristics of shopping products

  • Bought less often

  • Medium-priced

  • Frequently compared to other products

For example, an airline ticket is a common shopping product. Airline tickets are only available through airline companies and can vary greatly in price. Most consumers will spend time comparing airline tickets to choose which one best meets their needs and fits within their budget.

Other examples of shopping products include:

  • Clothing

  • Furniture

  • Electronic devices

  • Vacuum cleaners 

Related: A Guide to Consumer Packaged Goods (Plus Examples)

Unsought products

Unsought products are those that consumers typically don't buy or wouldn't consider purchasing regularly. Most people who purchase unsought products do not plan the purchase ahead of time. Often, a consumer doesn't even know that the product exists until the need arises to purchase it. Prices of unsought products can vary greatly and they typically are not offered by a wide variety of sellers.

Characteristics of unsought products

  • Not in the forefront of consumers’ minds

  • Extensive advertising and marketing efforts needed

For example, the services provided by certain lawyers are an example of unsought products. Most individuals do not think about paying a family lawyer until they decide to draft a will or need to contest one, or need legal advice for divorce, child custody or adoption. If you get injured in a car accident or on the job due to someone else’s negligence, you might seek a personal injury lawyer to help you get compensation for medical care, lost wages, or pain and suffering. 

Here are a few more examples of unsought products:

  • Funeral services

  • Life insurance plans

  • Smoke detectors

  • Fire extinguishers

Many new and innovative goods are considered unsought products until consumers become more aware of them. Unsought products typically require much more aggressive advertising and marketing compared to other types of products to spark a need for the product and ensure consumers are aware that it is available.

Related: Learn About Being a Product Marketing Manager

Explore more articles