What is the difference between needs and wants that you should know to deepen your understanding of consumers?



  • “The difference between needs and wants is not clear.”

    “They say it’s important to understand consumer needs, but how can you do that?”

    Do you have these questions?

    Needs refer to the state in which consumers feel that something is “necessary” in their daily lives.

    It is no exaggeration to say that the key to successful marketing lies in meeting the needs of consumers.

    However, as the words are commonly heard in business situations,

    “I can’t even hear the difference between wants and seeds, which are used together…”

    There may be many people who have this problem.

    So this time, I will explain the following contents.

    Article Topic

    • Basic meanings and differences between needs, wants, and seeds
    • Why you should understand your needs
    • How to understand your needs

    “I want to know the difference between needs and wants!”

    “I want to understand consumer needs and conduct effective marketing activities!”

    If you are thinking like this, please read this article to better understand your needs.

    What are the needs?

    American management scholar Philip Kotler defines needs as a state in which a person is deprived of a certain sense of fulfillment necessary for human life.

    Consumers feel in their daily lives“Necessity”.

    In our daily lives, we have various needs.

    For example, when you are thirsty, you feel the “need” for something that quenches your thirst, right?

    In this way, when a consumer feels a need for something, a need has arisen.

    Needs are often used in marketing activities.

    • Market/consumer grouping (segmentation)
    • Product development

    By accurately understanding consumer needs and engaging in marketing activities like this, you will receive the following benefits:

    3 benefits of understanding needs

    • Increasing consumer satisfaction
    • More options for approaches
    • Differentiate yourself from the competition

    For more information, see “3 Reasons to Understand Consumer Needs” in this article.

    There are also two types of needs.

    Based on whether consumers are aware of it or not, it can be divided into the following two types.

    Two types of needs

    • Manifested needs
    • Latent needs

    Types of needs 1. Revealed needs

    The needs that consumers are aware of are called manifested needs.

    For example, imagine that you are starting to attend an English conversation class.

    The reason you go to an English conversation class is probably because you want to be able to speak English, right?

    In other words, you realize that you need to be able to speak English and start attending an English conversation class.

    These needs that consumers are aware of are called manifested needs.

    Type of needs 2. Latent needs

    On the other hand, consumers may not yet be aware of their own needs.

    In this way, needs that consumers are not yet aware of are It is called needs.

    Let’s consider the example of an English conversation class again.

    If you are attending an English conversation class, you have an obvious need to be able to speak English.

    As you explore these manifested needs further, more essential needs that you were not aware of may emerge.

    For example, in this case, the underlying feeling may be “I want my friends or lover to think I’m cool.”

    These needs that consumers are not aware of are called latent needs.

    What are wants?

    One ​​marketing term that is often confused with needs is wants.

    Wants refer to specific “desires” for something that satisfies a need.

    For example, when we feel thirsty, we have the desire to drink water, right?

    At this time, in order to eliminate the lack of water, you want a specific thing = water.

    This state of wanting a specific thing to satisfy a certain need is called a want.

    There are three types of wants:

    3 types of wants

    • Basic wants
    • Condition wants
    • Expected Wants

    Types of wants 1. Basic wants

    Wants refer to specific “desires” for something that satisfies a need.

    In contrast to the need “I’m thirsty,” the basic want is “I want to drink water.”

    Types of wants 2. Conditions Wants

    Conditional wants are conditions or indicators for choosing a solution.

    In response to the need “I’m thirsty,” instead of simply asking for water, you can set the condition “I want to drink cold mineral water.” , that desire becomes a conditional want.

    Types of wants 3. Expected wants

    Expected wants are standards that are expected to be met.

    When we buy water at a supermarket because we are “thirsty,” we are likely to have the expectation that commercially available water is safe and secure.

    [With examples] Difference between needs and wants: goal or means

    “But the difference between needs and wants is not clear…”

    Some may say.

    In fact, needs and wants are often confused.

    If that’s the case, please think like this.

    Difference between needs and wants

    • Needs = “purpose”
    • Wants = “Means”

    Suddenly, do you know the following words?

    “What people who come to buy a drill want is a hole, not a drill.”

    This is a quote from Professor Theodore Levitt (former professor emeritus at Harvard Business School) in his book “Marketing Ideas” .

    In fact, the relationship between needs and wants is clearly expressed here.

    In this situation, the hole is the need (purpose) and the drill is the want (means).

    A consumer’s desire to “want a drill” stems from the desire to “drill a hole,” right?

    In other words, this consumer simply chose a drill as a means for the purpose of “drilling a hole,” and if the hole was to be made, it would be better not to use a drill. That’s okay.

    In this way, the relationship between needs and wants can be understood in terms of objectives and means.

    If you look at the example below, I think it will be easier to imagine the difference and relationship between the two.

    HumanNeeds=purposeWants=Means</ strong>


    I want to satisfy my hunger with delicious food

    I want to eat sushi
    I want to eat a hamburger

    Busy housewife

    I want to save time on cleaning

    I want a cleaning robot
    I want to hire a housekeeper

    Salaryman who needs English for work

    I want to be able to speak English

    I want to start online English conversation
    I want to attend an English conversation school

    What are seeds?

    In marketing, there is another concept that is often used in contrast to needs.

    That’s seed.

    Seeds are Companies refers to the unique technology, know-how, ideas, and materials that possesses.

    Seeds is “seeds-oriented” , is often compared to“needs-oriented”.

    The difference between the two isFrom whose perspective are products and services created? The point is whether it will go.

    Now, let’s take a closer look at the characteristics of needs-oriented and seeds-oriented.


    Needs-oriented is a style in which products and services are provided from the consumer’s perspective.

    Needs-oriented means pursuing what the market and consumers want and developing products that meet those needs.

    If a product is developed with a needs orientation in mind, a certain level of demand and sales can be expected because the needs of consumers and the market already exist. there is.

    Seeds Ambition

    Seed-oriented is a style in which products and services are provided from a producer’s perspective.

    Based on the company’s unique technology and ideas We develop products from the perspective of a producer who wants to make something.

    When aiming to develop new markets and provide new value, seed-oriented product development is suitable.

    Three reasons to understand consumer needs

    “It is important to accurately understand consumer needs”

    If you’re involved in marketing, don’t you often hear words like this?

    But why is understanding needs so important?

    Here I will explain the reason.

    3 reasons to understand your needs

    • Increasing consumer satisfaction
    • More options for approaches
    • Differentiate yourself from the competition

    1.Increased consumer satisfaction

    Accurately understand the needs that consumers feel on a daily basisIf possible,we can increase the satisfaction level of each consumer.

    This is because we can reflect what consumers want in our products.

    From the consumer’s point of view, a product that meets their needs feels like they are reaching out to something that hurts.

    For example, canned coffee.

    In the past, there was only a 190ml pull tab type.

    However, recently the mainstream has shifted to bottle can type and PET bottle type, right?

    Here, “I want to keep drinking while I’m at work,” This reflects the needs of consumers who want to purchase a product on the way to work and carry it with them throughout the day.

    As a result of product development that responds to needs, consumer satisfaction has actually increased and the size of the bottled coffee market has grown.

    In this way, we can tell consumers“You wanted this product!”In order to create products that satisfy customers, it is necessary to understand the needs of consumers.

    2.More options for approaches

    Understanding the fundamental needs of your consumers allows you to consider different options.

    Let’s consider again the example of a customer who came to buy a drill.

    The needs of customers who come to buy a drill are not “I want a drill,” but “I want to make a hole.”

    If you fail to identify this need, your options will be limited to selling drills.

    On the other hand, if we understand your needs, we can suggest other methods of drilling holes.

    For example, one approach could be to dispatch a carpenter or sell awls, right?

    If you dig deeper into the customer’s needs, you might find that the reason the customer wants to drill holes is because they want to make a bookshelf.

    In that case, providing the bookshelf itself may be an option.

    By exploring essential needs in this way, the options for approaching consumers will expand.

    3.Differentiate yourself from the competition

    In today’s world, where we are overflowing with things, in order to differentiate ourselves from our competitors, we need to satisfy not only consumers’ actual needs, but also their latent needs.

    This is because a product that only satisfies obvious needs will not be able to differentiate itself from its competitors and will fall into price competition.

    When you see similar products next to each other, you tend to buy the cheaper one, right?

    Therefore, in order to differentiate from the competition, it is necessary to quickly discover latent needs that even consumers are not aware of and provide new value to the market. There is.

    For example, since Apple released AirPods, the use of wireless earphones has rapidly spread, right?

    Apple, the company that developed wireless earphones, was able to compete with its competitors by solving the latent complaint of “earphone cords are a pain.” It made a difference.

    In this way, if you can discover latent needs, you will be able to differentiate yourself from your competitors.

    Three ways to understand consumer needs

    So how do you actually understand consumer needs?

    Here are three ways to understand consumer needs.

    3 ways to understand needs

    • Interview
    • Behavior observation
    • Analysis of hit products

    1. Interview

    The best way to understand consumer needs is to communicate directly with them and collect their honest feedback.

    Therefore, interviewis an effective way to understand your needs. It will be a great way to do it.

    On the other hand, whether or not you can draw out the true feelings and reality from consumers during an interview depends on the interviewer’s style and content of questions, so a certain level of skill is required.

    When interviewing, ask questions such as:

    Interview questions

    • Inconveniences and problems that consumers experience on a daily basis
    • Recent interests
    • Evaluation of own products
    • What you currently want (wants)

    Then, ask more questions to find out the latent needs that consumers are not aware of.

    Example: Discovering needs from wants

    Consumer: “I want a tablet.” (Wants)
    You: “What good things will happen to you if you buy a tablet?”
    Consumer: “You will be able to watch movies and read books while on the go.” (Need)
    You: “Why do you want to use it while traveling?”
    Consumer: “My hobbies are watching movies and reading, but I don’t have time for them, so I would like to use my travel time for my hobbies.” (Needs)

    In this case, we found that consumers have a need for “things that can turn their travel time into hobby time.”

    By repeatedly asking consumers “Why?” in this way, we can

    2. Behavior observation

    Consumer needs are always born in the field.

    Therefore,behavioral observationcan also be used to This is an effective means of understanding.

    Behavior observation is important in daily life.By observing how consumers behave, we can identify the underlying needslatent needsIt is something that tries to find out.

    Observations are typically made by visiting consumers in their homes or recording them using the product.

    In our daily lives, we consumers do not think about the meaning of our actions.

    In other words, there are many unconscious actions and things we take for granted.

    However, unconscious and unconscious behavioral patterns may contain latent needs that consumers themselves are not yet aware of or have not been able to verbalize.

    A well-known example of discovering latent consumer needs through behavioral observation is the upside-down ketchup bottle from the food brand HEINZ.

    When HEINZ researchers closely monitored the lives of consumers, they observed that consumers were turning ketchup containers upside down when they were running low. , it seemed like he was hitting the bottom.

    We also found that many consumers store ketchup upside down in the refrigerator.

    HEINZ therefore identified a need for ketchup containers that could be stored upside down and utilized this in product development.

    In this way, behavioral observation helps you understand the latent needs of consumers.

    3. Analysis of hit products

    If you want to know what kind of products and services consumers feel they need now, One way is to analyzeservices.

    If you look at the products that are selling well, you will find consumer needs as a common feature.

    For example, since around 2018, cheese hats and tapioca have been a huge hit, especially among students, right?

    What do these products have in common?

    Of course they are delicious, but the main thing they have in common is that they look great on Instagram.

    In addition to cheese hats and tapioca, there are many other products that have recently become hits that meet this Instagrammable need, right?

    This shows that today’s young generation, especially students, have a need to “post and share nice photos on SNS.”

    Analyzing products that are already a hit in this way is also a way to understand consumer needs.

    [Summary] Understand needs and utilize them in marketing!

    The goal of marketing is to create a system that will sell.

    In order to create a situation where products will naturally sell, we must bring products to the market that meet the needs of consumers.

    Of course, it is important to understand the wants that are manifesting, but by understanding the needs that are the source of the wants, you can There will be benefits like this.

    • Increased consumer satisfaction
    • More options for approaches
    • You can differentiate yourself from the competition

    Please refer to the methods introduced here to understand consumer needs and utilize them in your marketing activities.