DEFINITION of 'Consumables'

Goods used by individuals and businesses that must be replaced regularly because they wear out or are used up. Consumables can also be defined as the components of an end product that are used up or permanently altered in the process of manufacturing, such as semiconductor wafers and basic chemicals.

BREAKING DOWN 'Consumables'

Stocks of companies that make consumables are considered to be relative safe harbors for equity investors when the economy shows signs of weakness. The reasoning is simple: people will always need to purchase groceries, clothes and gas no matter what is going on in the broad economy.

Many of the items measured in the basket of goods used to calculate the Consumer Price Index (CPI) are consumables; inflation in these items is closely watched because it can lower the discretionary income people have to spend on items such as cars, vacations and entertainment.

  1. Inflation

    The rate at which the general level of prices for goods and services ...
  2. Customer Service

    The process of ensuring customer satisfaction with a product ...
  3. Consumer Price Index - CPI

    A measure that examines the weighted average of prices of a basket ...
  4. Consumer Staples

    Essential products such as food, beverages, tobacco and household ...
  5. Discretionary Income

    The amount of an individual's income that is left for spending, ...
  6. Basket Of Goods

    A relatively fixed set of consumer products and services valued ...
Related Articles
  1. Markets

    Consumer Spending As A Market Indicator

    What people buy and where they shop can provide valuable information about the economy.
  2. Credit & Loans

    The Disposable Society: An Expensive Place To Live

    Resisting the trend toward consumption will boost your bottom line and bolster the environment.
  3. Options & Futures

    Cyclical Versus Non-Cyclical Stocks

    Investing during an economic downturn simply means changing your focus. Discover the benefits of defensive stocks.
  4. Economics

    Evaluating Grocery Store Stocks

    Retail grocers are no longer a homogeneous group selling products in the same manner. Find out how to evaluate these companies.
  5. Economics

    Explaining Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price

    The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) is just what it describes – the price manufacturers recommend that retailers charge for their goods.
  6. Economics

    Calculating Cross Elasticity of Demand

    Cross elasticity of demand measures the quantity demanded of one good in response to a change in price of another.
  7. Personal Finance

    What to Collect: Apple Watch vs. Luxury Watches

    The "iWatch" is a new player in the luxury watch world. But will it stand the test of time? Some points for collectors to ponder.
  8. Investing

    The Quinoa Quandary for Bolivian Farmers

    Growing global demand for quinoa has impacted Bolivian farmers' way of life. Should the American consumer be wary of buying this product?
  9. Stock Analysis

    2 Reasons PepsiCo's Snacks Division is Crucial to Its Growth

    Understand the recent trends in the North American snacks market. Learn about the top two reasons why PepsiCo's snack division is crucial to its growth.
  10. Personal Finance

    Alpaca vs. Cashmere: Which Luxe Wool Is the Best?

    Winter is coming. Which of these luxury threads is most worth the price (and how to distinguish true luxe from cheap imitations).
  1. What are the best mutual funds for investing in the aerospace sector?

    The only current mutual fund that is directly targeted to the aerospace and defense sector is the Fidelity Select Defense ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What does marginal utility tell us about consumer choice?

    In microeconomics, utility represents a way to relate the amount of goods consumed to the amount of happiness or satisfaction ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What are some common ways product differentiation is achieved?

    There are many ways to achieve product differentiation, some more common than others. Horizontal Differentiation Horizontal ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What is the difference between an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) and a VAR ...

    An original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is a company that manufactures a basic product or a component product, such as a ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Is the retail sector also affected by seasonal factors?

    Generally speaking, the retail sector is highly seasonal. Almost invariably, sales in the retail sector are highest in the ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What has the retail sector evolved to its current structure?

    Retail is the catch-all phrase for the sale of final goods to consumers; a retail transaction is considered an "end" and ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
  2. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
  3. Revenue

    The amount of money that a company actually receives during a specific period, including discounts and deductions for returned ...
  4. Normal Profit

    An economic condition occurring when the difference between a firm’s total revenue and total cost is equal to zero.
  5. Operating Cost

    Expenses associated with the maintenance and administration of a business on a day-to-day basis.
  6. Cost Of Funds

    The interest rate paid by financial institutions for the funds that they deploy in their business. The cost of funds is one ...
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!