Specialty Products

Specialty Products

Specialty goods are those considered unique by the buyer, who will go to great lengths to get them.


Illustrate the characteristics and consumer motivation connected to specialty products


Key Points

  • Price is almost never a determining factor in choosing between specialty goods. Consumers instead choose specialty goods primarily based on quality, style, scarcity, or personal preference.
  • Sellers of specialty goods need not be conveniently located, because buyers will seek them out, even if it involves considerable effort.
  • Some goods may be considered shopping goods by some buyers, and specialty goods by other buyers.

Key Terms

  • specialty good: Products that are considered so unique by the consumer that they will go to any length to seek out and purchase them.
  • specialty store: small retailers which offer a specific range of merchandise and related items

Speciality Products

Specialty goods represent the third product classification (after convenience and shopping goods). This classification system is based on the definition that convenience and speciality goods are both purchased with a predetermined pattern in mind.

In the case of the convenience good, the pattern is that the most accessible brand will be purchased. In the case of a speciality good, the pattern is that only a specific brand will be purchased. For example, if the customer utilizes an outlet because it is the most accessible, it would be considered, for that customer at least, a convenience store. If consumers shop at a store even if they have to go considerably out of their way to get there, it would be considered a speciality store that sells specialty goods.

From the perspective of consumers, specialty goods are so unique that they will go to great lengths to seek out and purchase them. Almost without exception, price is not a principle factor affecting the sales of specialty goods. Although these products may be custom-made (e.g. a hairpiece) or one-of-a-kind (e.g. a statue), it is also possible that the marketer has been very successful in differentiating the product in the mind of the consumer.

For instance, consumers who favor merchandise produced by a certain bag manufacturer will, if necessary, travel considerable distances to purchase that particular brand. Examples of speciality goods include designer clothes, high-end cars, exotic perfumes, famous paintings, fancy foods, hi-fi components, sporting equipment, photographic equipment, and men’s suits. Another example might be the strong attachment some people feel toward a particular hairstylist or barber. A person may wait a long time for that individual and might even move with that person to another hair salon.


Louis Vuiton Flagship Store in Paris, France: People will travel miles to buy a Louis Vuiton bag even though there are plenty of options in their local department store.

In general, it is desirable for marketers to lift their product from the shopping to the specialty class and keep it there. With the exception of price-cutting, the entire range of marketing activities are required to accomplish this goal.


Price is not usually the primary factor in consumer choice of speciality goods. Their prices are often higher than those of other articles serving the same basic need, but that lack their special characteristics.

Whether a good is a shopping or a speciality good depends on the consumer’s socioeconomic background. For a daily wage earner at a construction site, a pack of cigarettes might be a speciality good.

A product is a speciality good if customers know what brand they will purchase prior to feeling the need for it. Since a speciality good entails a high degree of customer loyalty, the shopping effort does not involve comparing one brand against another, but finding a store that carries the item in question.

Speciality goods have higher profit margins and higher prices relative to convenience or shopping goods. For the most part, manufacturers of speciality goods sell their products on the basis of product quality, reliability, and image, rather than on the basis of price.

Usually, the person who purchases an expensive speciality item is not as concerned about price as the average consumer. In markets for speciality goods, sellers do not encourage comparisons between options. Additionally, since buyers invest time to reach the stores carrying their desired product, the dealers do not necessarily need to be conveniently located.