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Category System of Consumer Goods
There are three-category system of consumer goods : convenience, shopping, and specialty goods.

Convenience goods are those purchased with a minimum of effort, because the buyer has knowledge of product characteristics prior to shopping. The consumer does not want to search for additional information (because the item has been bought before) and will accept a substitute rather than have to frequent more than one store.

Convenience goods can be subdivided into staples, impulse goods, and emergency goods. Staples are low-priced items that are routinely purchased on a regular basis, such as detergent, milk, and cereal. Impulse goods are items that the consumer does not plan to buy on a specific trip to a store, such as candy, a magazine, and ice cream. Emergency goods are items purchased out of urgent need, such as an umbrella during a rainstorm, a tire to replace a flat, or aspirin for a headache.

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Shopping goods are those for which consumers lack sufficient information about product alternatives and their attributes, and therefore must acquire further knowledge in order to make a purchase decision. The two major kinds of shopping goods are attribute-based and price-based.

For attribute-based shopping goods, consumers get information about and then evaluate product features, warranty, performance, options, and other factors. The good with the best combination of attributes is purchased. Sony electronics and Calvin Klein clothes are marketed as attribute-based shopping goods. For price-based shopping goods, consumers judge product attributes to be similar and look around for the least expensive item/store. Consumers will exert effort in searching for information, because shopping goods are bought infrequently. Hyundai Automobile and store-brand clothes are marketed as price-based shopping goods.

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Specialty goods are those to which consumers are brand loyal. They are fully aware of these products and their attributes prior to making a purchase decision. They are willing to make a significant purchase effort to acquire the brand desired and will pay a higher price than competitive products, if necessary. For specialty goods, consumers will not make purchases if their brand is not available. Substitutes are not acceptable.


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