Consumables are goods that require recurrent replacement because they are used up or transformed in their use. The market for these goods tends to be consistent and can be a strong place for investment, even during periods of economic uncertainty, as the need for such products cannot be put off by consumers. Individuals and businesses both buy consumables, in varying amounts, and a number of companies specializing in a range of consumable products provide goods to the public.
Office supplies like pens, pencils, paper, stables, toner and ink, paperclips, and so forth are classic examples of consumables. They are regularly used up or changed and an office must maintain a steady supply of these products in order to function. Groceries and personal care products are consumables seen in the home. Conversely, things like appliances are not placed in this class, but are considered durable goods. They are designed to be used for an extended period of time.
Many consumables are disposable in nature. Hospitals order huge volumes for patient care, including needles, gloves, bandages, and tubing. Examples of similar products can be seen in other industries where people want clean materials to work with or must use new products with each customer. Companies marketing consumables rely on a steady market. As long as a business or household is operational, the demand for consumables will remain the same.
In a hospital, for example, a budget crisis may put off major purchases of durable goods like next generation imaging machines and hospital beds. However, to function, the hospital still needs supplies to serve patients, and the medical supply companies used by the hospital can depend on the hospital's orders. This allows such companies to maintain steady growth and returns, even in a poor economy, making them very appealing to many investors.
The market for consumables may be tracked separately from other types of goods. Economists look at movement in this area of the market to make projections, learn more about the general health of the economy, and examine economic shifts. Companies that design and market these products also tend to innovate in order to expand their market. Many companies make disposable versions of reusable products, for example, in order to turn the market for these goods into a consumable one. These products are marketed as more convenient than reusable ones. They may even integrate marketing tactics such as being more environmentally friendly because they don't have to be cleaned between uses and can be made with biodegradeable, renewable materials.