What Do Consumers Need vs. Want to Buy?

This is part two in our consumer goods strategy series.

Think about your target customer and what they commit to spending money on every month. Is your product a monthly need, a want, or a less frequent, expensive purchase? If your product doesn’t fit into an existing purchasing category, how will you convince customers to buy what you’re selling?

Needs (Based on Typical Monthly Expenses)

  • Food
  • Water & Beverages
  • Healthcare
  • Transportation
  • Housing
  • Electricity
  • Heat & Hot Water
  • Telecom Plan
  • Home Wi-fi
  • Maybe: Caffeine, Pet Food, Child Expenses, Education, Student Loans

Quarterly Purchases

  • Personal care items (beauty, hair care, nutrition)
  • Cleaning and laundry supplies (and other misc small household items)

Larger Lifestyle & Household Purchases (every 1–10 years)

  • A new Mobile Device
  • A new Personal Computer
  • Camera
  • Tablet
  • Television
  • Travel Luggage
  • Home Decor & Renovations
  • Kitchen Tools & Gadgets
  • Sheets & Towels
  • Mattresses
  • Washing Machine
  • Refrigerator
  • Dishwasher
  • Car
  • House


  • Entertainment — Books, Movies, Music, Cable, Games, Virtual Reality
  • Outside Entertainment — Travel, Restaurants, Movie Theater, Concerts
  • Clothing, Shoes & Accessories — Beyond what you already own.
  • Gym Membership or Fitness Devices — Health and wellness is necessary, but a gym membership isn’t accessible or affordable to all.
  • Smart Home — Gadgets that connect to the internet and mobile phones, giving consumers control over their home’s electricity and temperature.
  • A Personal AI — To automate your life and keep your pantry stocked.
  • Wearable Devices — Such as smart watches and fitness trackers.

Top Household Purchasing Categories in 2015

1010 Data compiled a study of top CPG categories for online sales in the U.S. in 2015. Pet Food was the clear winner with almost $700M in online sales.