4 Types of Consumer Products: Definition & Marketing

Consumer products are divided into 4 types:

  • Convenience;
  • Shopping;
  • Specialty;
  • Unsought.

Each type of consumer product has its own product features.

As a result, customers differ in the way they buy various products.

Anatolii Ulitovskyi
Updated: 16.06.2020

Consumer products are complete and final products from manufactures, created for immediate use by consumers.

Let’s compare consumer- to processed products in the table below:

Consumer products Processed products
Tangible goods: smartphones, bread, milk, cars, houses, ships, etc. Raw materials: metal, wheat, oil, plants, granite, etc.
Intangible services: computer games, tours, haircuts, massages, consulting, etc. Intangible services: software for organizations, services for companies, etc.

Before making a purchase, customers consider what they want to buy.

Some goods are bought without consideration such as bread, milk, toothpaste, magazines, chewing gum, etc.

When you see these types of products in a shop – you take them.

The purchase of other goods needs more investigation and research, thus takes more time for comparing different brands, prices, quality and additional terms.

For example, how long would you consider buying a laptop, smartphone or a new car?

I’m sure it takes significantly more time than buying bread and milk.

Check out the differences in the infographic below:

Different types of consumer products

Different types of consumer products often overlap.

It depends on the material welfare of customers, their stage of sales funnel and their buying mood.

During the marketing campaign, you need to consider additional factors that influence customers’ decisions to buy.

I’ll explain to you how to tout each type of consumer product.

Convenience Products

Customers buy convenience products a few times per week.

These products are spread everywhere – in supermarkets, malls, small shops and gas stations.

The common requirement is an affordable price.

Keep on reading and I’ll tell you how to advertise convenience products.

Convenience products are low-priced consumer products with a widespread distribution that customers buy frequently with minimum buying effort and without long comparison.

Have a look at the list of convenience products in the table below:

Type Convenience Products
Most food and drinks Bread, milk, sugar, sodas, fruit, vegetables, pet food.
Print media Newspapers, magazines, books.
OTC medication Vitamins, headache tablets.
Home chemicals Soap, toothpaste, shampoo, cleaning products.
Bad habits Cigarettes, beer, vodka, whiskey, wine, junk food, etc.
Services Using an ATM, getting a haircut, bus tickets.

There are two promotional types for these products: mass promotion and brand recognition.

Mass promotion is more common for offline marketing: pamphlets and flyer distribution, in-store product promotion, discounts, etc.

Online advertising for convenience products is more suitable for brand recognition.

Some products don’t need brand promotion.

For example, what is your favorite brand of sugar or salt?

I might assume you don’t know these brands, as I don’t.

Many brands are popular because of brand promotion such as Coca-Cola or Snickers.

If you produce convenience products that require brand recognition – you then need to use content marketing.

Content marketing of convenience products differs from other products by using any marketing pitch, even if these ideas are not related to their brand.

For example, Coca-Cola spent $5.8 billion on advertising in 2018 or a total of 18.3% of their annual revenue.

Their buying persona doesn’t have an age, sex, job or interests.

Their customers are anyone without diabetes.

The main purpose of the Coca-Cola advertisement is to be seen by as many people as possible.

Not all brands of convenience products use all pitches.

Have you seen the official Red Bull website?

Red Bull promotes extreme and active events – there is no information about their drink on the main page.

The main purpose is that when you see a Red Bull can in a shop, you think of an additional energy resource.

The more times consumers meet your brand, the higher the chance that they will buy your products when they come across them.

Shopping Products

Customers don’t buy shopping products – they exchange hard-earned money for these products.

This only happens when a customer believes that the value of a shopping product is higher than its price.

Before buying, customers consider how these products will solve their problems and weigh up the necessity of having them.

In this chapter, I’ll explain to you how to set up effective marketing campaigns for shopping products.

Can you live without convenience products? No, you can’t.

Can you live without shopping products? Yes, you can.

Can you have a good life without shopping products? No, you can’t.

Shopping products are medium-priced consumer products. Before buying customers consider different brands according to the following parameters: price, quality, suitability and style.

Shopping products can be divided into 2 categories: heterogeneous and homogeneous.

Homogeneous products have similar features in quality, price, brand image, suitability; e.g. electric appliances or car tires.

Heterogeneous products have different features such as size, style and color.

Let’s dive in, to understand the exact differences.

Can you have an iPhone like your friend? Yes, you can.

You can also have a refrigerator, microwave, TV, laptop or anything else just like your friends.

However, would you like having the same t-shirt as your friend? No, you wouldn’t.

You have your own style and your own unique preferences.

Type Shopping Products
Electronics Computers, laptops, gaming consoles (Sony Playstation), smartphones, dishwashers, fridges.
Household furniture Sofas, chairs, tables, beds.
Clothing T-shirts, pants, dresses, coats.
Traveling Booking hotels, air tickets, excursions.
Sporting Visiting gym, training, sports equipment, running shoes.
Services Visiting doctors, house repairs and maintenance, car breakdowns.

How to tout shopping products?

For convenience products, mass promotion works perfectly fine, but for shopping products, you need to set up targeted promotion and create a buying persona.

Digital marketing is a suitable and effective way of advertising because it contains all the necessary instruments for setting up targeted advertisements.

Firstly, create your buying persona: exact age, sex, job, hobby, etc.

Take into consideration that your buying persona is not the same on different platforms: social media networks, Google, YouTube and other websites.

It’s better to create different buying personas for each platform.

Your website’s visitors are different from your YouTube channel viewers or your Facebook page, because different platforms have different types of content.

For example, you might have educational videos on YouTube; Facebook publications might have entertainment or quiz formats; your website content might have commercial intent.

Marketers are often stumped by the fact that buying personas can’t have an exact age and sex because their customers have different demographics when buying their products.

I totally agree.

However, customers from one demographic group might buy more often than others of a different demographic group.

Let’s have a deeper look.

Imagine the scenario: you can divide the customers who buy your products into three categories:

  • 60% are men aged 25-34 years old;
  • 20% are men aged 35-44 years old;
  • 20% are women aged 25-34 years old.

If you set up your advertisement specifically for men aged 25-34 years old, you will sell 3 times more products than other categories.

Consider the fact that the level of online competition is extremely fierce and your ROI won’t be enough to cover your marketing expenses if you set up campaigns for other categories as well.

Specialty Products

The wealthier class of shoppers rarely buy specialty (luxury) products.

Having these products gives them the status of belonging to a privileged group of people.

A common feature is high-quality material and manual assembly.

How to tout specialty products? Carry on reading…

Have you thought why consumers buy new Ferraris?

You might think it is because of the leather interior, powerful engine and state-of-the-art, ABS braking system?

No, it’s not. Many other cars have similar features.

Customers prefer Ferrari because of the status symbol that accompanies the name ‘Ferrari’, which automatically places them in a high society class.

Have you seen how much Hermes charge for their clutches?

Some of them cost over $30K; the average price is around $10K.

Price of clutches

Let’s assume that the average price of clutches for standing brands is around $100 – does it mean that Hermes clutches are 100 times better?

I don’t think so.

Are they better? Yes, they are better.

Are they 100 times better? Of course not.

Luxury goods don’t proclaim that they are numerous times better than commonly produced goods.

These goods rank their owners among the privileged few of the richest people in the world.

Type Specialty Products
Cars Ferrari, Bugatti, Rolls Royce, Bentley, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, etc.
Special Jewelry Harry Winston, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Buccellati, etc.
Designer clothing Gucci, DKNY, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo, Stella McCartney, Fendi, Saint Laurent, Givenchy, etc.
Traveling President Wilson Hotel in Geneva, The Mark in New York, Faena Hotel in Miami
Software CryEngine 3 – $1.2M, New World Systems Public Administration Software – $500K, Renderware SDK – $240K
Special medical advice American healthcare system 🙂

Advertising of specialty products significantly differs from shopping products because of stronger brand recognition and a narrow-targeted audience.

Customers recognize luxury brands when they meet them.

These brands have achieved their positions over many years.

When middle-class customers meet a luxury brand, they think that it’s too expensive, they will never be able to afford it.

You don’t need to create an advertisement for average-income consumers.

It’s important to consider a targeted audience with high annual income who are interested in specific luxury products.

When rich targeted customers meet a luxury brand they might think – it’s a high-quality product and price doesn’t play a huge role, they then buy it.

Unsought Products

Under normal circumstances, customers don’t have the purpose of buying unsought products.

However, normal circumstances sometimes change with unpredictable conditions.

How to tout unsought products if we don’t know what types of conditions the client has?

Let’s uncover it.

Unsought products – consumer products which customers don’t know about or won’t consider buying under normal circumstances – they only buy these products if something has happened.

For example, your friend accidentally dies because of a sudden disease.

He was always healthy and visited a gym regularly, ate healthy food and drank no alcohol.

He supported his family and now, because of his death, they have serious financial problems.

You don’t want to leave your family with financial problems if you die suddenly, so you get life insurance.

The reason you did this was the unpredictable death of your friend.

Another example is new software that can solve some of your problems: saving you time and money.

You used old software that was good, but the new software is much better.

You never thought of buying the new software because you didn’t know of its existence.

Type Unsought Products
New technology New software, new unknown brand gadgets, unusual products, new innovations and ideas
Services Life insurance, pre-planned funeral services, alarm settings, additional warranties by buying products
Donations Raffle tickets, fundraising events, charity donations
Consulting Anti-crisis consulting, unpredictable medical advice

It’s not simple to advertise unsought products because people don’t have purpose in buying them.

You need to set up an emotional advertisement, and state what if something happened or discover new interesting innovations or ideas.

There are three variants of advertisements on the list below:

  1. Analyzing the average metric in the targeted community – how often some events happen. Set up your marketing campaigns by considering this data.
  2. Using SEO and PPC. Customers search for information on Google by using target keywords. Optimize your website with these related keywords or set up a PPC campaign.
  3. Using trends and events – combine them with your products. For example, increasing the level of home theft provokes people to buy burglar alarms. Another example is raising the topics about possible problems in your community and outdated technology helps to sell new innovations.


If you want to sell your products, you need to consider what types of products you have.

Answer these questions:

  • Where do your customers buy your products?
  • Who is your buying persona?
  • What provokes your customers to buy?
  • Which circumstances are suitable for selling your products?

Feel free to ask me additional questions in the comments section.

Also, read the following articles:

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