Economics - Consumer Behavior - Classification of Wants
In Economics, wants are classified into three categories, viz., Necessaries, Comforts and Luxuries.
Necessaries are those which are essential for living. Man requires certain basic things to live. He wants food, clothing and shelter. Without these things, life is impossible.
Comforts refer to those goods and services, which are not essential for living but which are required for a happy living. A TV, a sofa-cum-bed, a cushioned revolving chair may be stated under 'comforts'. Eating superior varieti�es of food may also add to the happiness of the consumer. Example: eating fruits, drinking milk etc. Comforts promote efficiency also.
Those goods that are used to show off one's higher status in life (e.g. diamond - studded jewels) are luxuries
The classification of goods and services into necessaries, comforts and luxuries are only relative in their concept. They are not absolute concepts. What is 'comfort', to one may be a 'necessity' to another and a 'luxury' to a third man. A motorcar is necessary for a businessman and a doctor. It is a luxury for a student. What is necessary for a man in town may be a luxury for a villager. These classifications depend on the income of a person, his social status, his tastes and preferences.
The existence of human wants is the basis of all economic activity in a society. All desires, tastes and motives of human beings are called wants in economics.
1. Wants may arise due to elementary and psychological causes. The wants for food, clothing and housing are elementary and psychological.
2. Wants may arise due to social causes. As members of society, we may require a particular type of dress and food.
3. Wants arise due to customs and habits like drinking tea and chewing.
4. Wants may arise due to advertisements.
In the early stages of civilisation, wants of men were few and simple. With advancement of civilisation, wants have become unlimited and also complex. Man tries to satisfy most of his wants through economic activity. Since the resources are limited, he has to choose between urgent wants and not so urgent wants. A systematic survey of this process is called consumption. Consumption means using up of goods and services in the satisfaction of human wants. The economics of consumption is related to a study of nature of wants and the behaviour of demand.
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