The Different Classification of Products

Generally, products are of two types: consumer products and industrial products.

Consumer Products

Consumer goods are those used by ultimate consumers or households and in such form employed without further commercial processing.

Consumer goods can further according to the number of efforts consumers are willing to expend for purchases and the extent of their preferences for such products and services. Thus, consumer goods are:

  • Convenience goods
  • Shopping goods
  • Specialty goods
  • Unsought goods.

Read Also: Composition and Functioning of the Marketing Environment

The functions of marketing can be classified into three, namely merchandising function, physical distribution, and auxiliary function.

Convenience Products/Goods

These are standardized products and services with low unit values that consumers wish to buy as needs arise and with little buying effort. That is, goods that consumers generally purchase with little effort.

The purchase is almost spontaneous which the person possesses, a predetermined brand in mind. These convenience goods include soaps, newspapers, toothpaste, cigarettes, etc.

Often, convenience goods are sought impulsively or spontaneously. For example, when a person goes shopping and sees a product that attracts his eyes, he buys it on impulse. Such goods are not purchased regularly.

Shopping Goods

They are goods purchased after going around shops and comparing the alternatives offered by different manufacturers and retailers.

In other words, these are durable items with differentiated product attributes that consumers wish to compare to find the most suitable for their needs before buying.

In this case, the emphasis is on quality, price, fashion, style, etc. They, therefore, have to be marketed differently. Examples of such goods are clothing, household appliances, and furniture.

Specialty Goods

These are products that consumers insist on having. The buyers are willing to wait until the right products are available before they buy them. Consumers have either developed a liking for such goods.

Specialty products are usually specific branded items rather than product categories. They are products that have passed the brand preference stage and reached the brand insistence stage.

Cars, jewelry, fashion clothing, photocopy machines, and cameras are all examples of this. They are usually very costly items and include luxury items.

Unsought Goods

These are goods that people do not seek, either because they did not plan to buy them or are not aware of their existence before they saw them on displays at the point of purchase. Most new and recently introduced products will fall into this class.

Therefore, aggressive and continuous promotion is necessary for them. Examples of unsought products include life insurance, an encyclopedia, and blood donation to the Red Cross Society.


Industrial Products

These are products used by producers who convert them into consumables or consume them in their processes of conversion or production of their goods. Industrial products are those purchased for further processing or for use in conducting business.

The distinction between consumer and industrial goods is the purpose for which the product was bought. The classification of industrial goods is focused on their industrial use. Akanbi (2002) classifies industrial products into five:

  • Installation
  • Equipment, Tools, and Accessories
  • Raw Materials
  • Semi-Processed Components and Parts
  • Consumables and Operating Supplies.

Read Also: SWOT Analysis: Determining the Strengths and Weaknesses of Opportunities for and Threats to the Enterprise


These are major capital items that form the main assets of production firms. They are very costly items that need crucial decisions before they are purchased. They include product items such as buildings, heavy manufacturing machines, computers, etc.

These are usually custom-made items that require direct negotiations between the buyers and the sellers.

Equipment, Tools, and Accessories

These are usually standardized items used by a wide range of industrial users. They are products like typewriters, hand tools, filing cabinets, and air conditioners. They are production operating items.

Raw Materials

They form the major parts of the finished items. They are materials that go through the production line to make up the finished items.

They include the raw materials of agricultural products, mining, forestry, and sea and water products. They are usually standardized items sold based on quality and reliability of supply.

Semi-Processed Components and Parts

They are types of industrial goods that also form part of the finished items, although some are finished items already, for example, buttons for shirts, radios, and car batteries.

Consumables and Operating Supplies

These are the convenience items of industrial products. They are employed to aid the running and maintenance of the organization’s equipment and to keep the organization and its machines in proper shape.

They are usually standardized items and of low prices. Examples are stationery, fuel, water, grease, etc.

Read Also: Definition of Products and the Different Product Levels

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