Needs, Wants and Demands

For a marketer, it is imperative to understand the basic principle of marketing that is Needs, Wants, and Demands. These may sound to be fundamental words but they act as major differentiating factors.


Needs are the essentials required by a human to survive. These are the things used to fulfill the states of deprivation of our survival. The products that fall under the ‘need’ category do not require a push. Customers themselves ask for them.

We need to understand the 5 basic types of needs of a customer:

  • Stated Needs
  • Real Needs
  • Unstated Needs
  • Delight Needs
  • Secret Needs

Some examples of needs category products/sectors are the agriculture sector, real estate, FMCG, etc.

Understanding the customers’ human level of needs is not enough for marketers. As people cannot always express what they need; some people are not always fully conscious of their needs.

An example of need would be, when you are thirsty or hungry, you need something to drink (water), or something to eat.


Wants are a step ahead of needs but are largely dependent on basic human needs. These basically are the specific objects to fulfill our needs. For example, when you are thirsty, you need water, but you want to drink only mineral water.

Human wants can be varied depending on each individual’s perceptions, environment, culture, and society.

Another example of wants can be, an American needs food but he wants a burger and coke. Whereas when a Chinese needs food, he wants a bowl of noodles. Wants of a person are influenced by the culture around him.

In the changing era of technology, many things have turned from wants to needs, for example, smartphones, computers, etc.


You might need a car and want a BMW. But can you actually buy a BMW? You can, provided you have the ability to buy a BMW. Thus when your needs and wants are backed up with the ability to buy them, they become your demand.

The basic difference between wants and demands is desire. A customer may desire something but he may not be able to fulfill his desire.

Demands are usually influenced by social and emotional factors like:

  • Social awareness
  • Social norms
  • Social Pressure
  • Fear
  • Desire
  • Likes/ dislikes

In conclusion, the needs, wants, and demands are a very important element of marketing because they help the marketers decide the products which they needs to offer in the market.

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