consumer products

Cyclicals tend to go up and down with the economy, while non-cyclical stocks are steady earners in good times and bad. Companies of cyclical stocks sell goods and services that many buy when the economy is doing well but cut during downturns, such as luxury goods. The consumer staples sector has outperformed all but one sector since 1962.

  • The company used to make snacks and beverages under the Pringles brand, before selling that division to Kellogg.
  • Because profits can be returned to shareholders in the form ofdividendsandbuybacks, a low P/E ratio shows that you’re paying less for each dollar of profit generated.
  • Also, because these stocks tend to perform in a way counter to the consumer discretionary sector in market recessions, they can help bring balance to a portfolio.
  • You may remember stores being sold out of consumer staples such as toilet paper, but sales of discretionary goods suffered at the same time.
  • People depend on gas, electricity, water, and other utilities in daily life.
  • Just about every consumer will purchase a staple such as soap, deodorant, and toothpaste as part of the inventory of items that are maintained in the household reserves.

The leisure products industry consists of companies that cater to consumers’ leisure activities, such as sports, toys, and various outdoor activities. Leisure goods include various camping equipment, toys, all-terrain vehicles, and golf carts. Cyclical industries make or sell products that we can live without or delay buying when times are tough. Examples include luxury goods, non-business travel, and new construction. Investors may find opportunities in cyclical stocks hard to predict because of the correlation they have to the economy. Since it’s hard to predict the ups and downs of the economic cycle, it’s tricky to guess how well a cyclical stock will do.

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A non-consumer cyclical would be a company that sells to businesses, governments, or large organizations and which is also sensitive to the state of the economy. A consumer cyclical would be a cyclical stock that markets to individuals or households. Both sales and earnings are critical factors in the success of a company. Companies with quarterly EPS or revenue growth of more than 1,000% were excluded as outliers. Dabur India Ltd is one of the top Ayurvedic Medicine & Natural Consumer Product manufacturer and also a leading consumer staples company in India.

The consumer confidence indicator can shed light on future consumption and saving behaviors of households. This insight is tied to answers households provide when surveyed about their expected financial circumstances. It’s also based on how they feel about economic conditions and unemployment. Companies that supply these types of goods and services are usually either called consumer discretionaries or consumer cyclicals. The company started as a condensed milk company, and milk chocolate was one of its first products.

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More importantly, the consumer staples sector has outperformed the S&P 500 during the last three recessionary periods—or periods of negative growth in the gross domestic product . Due to their low volatility, consumer staples stocks are considered to play a key role in defensive strategies. The term consumer staples refers to a set of essential products used by consumers.

One example of a company in the distributor industry is LKQ Corporation , which is a distributor of vehicle replacement parts and components used in car repair and maintenance. The largest global car manufacturers are Toyota Motor Corporation and Volkswagen . Andriy Blokhin has 5+ years of professional experience in public accounting, personal investing, and as a senior auditor with Ernst & Young. Conversely, if the P/E is low, it may be because the company’s earnings are peaking in an upcycle that won’t last forever. Of course, further analysis is needed to determine the cause of a stock’s abnormally high or low P/E.

Also, many hotels and restaurants pursue franchise business models rather than owning and operating restaurants themselves. Full BioCierra Murry is an expert in banking, credit cards, investing, loans, mortgages, and real estate. When the market is going up, people have money to spend, so cyclicals do well. When it is in decline, budget constraints cause people to spend only on what they need—and cyclicals lose sales. Investing in non-cyclical stocks is a good way to avoid losses when highly-cyclical companies are suffering.

Consumer Staples

When an economy is growing, many sectors see stock values increase and this can make equities attractive. The higher values are due to increasing profits and more discretionary consumer income. For example, they may postpone vacations and delay the purchase of products that aren’t essential for daily living. These products might include high-end clothing, big-screen televisions, and expensive new cars.

consumer staples meaning staple stocks represent companies that are noncyclical because they produce or sell goods or services that are always in demand. A defensive sector fund is one that primarily invests in firms in recession-proof or “defensive” sectors. The purchasing power of a currency unit decreases as the commodities and services get dearer. When inflation is high, the cost of living gets higher as well, which ultimately leads to a deceleration in economic growth. A certain level of inflation is required in the economy to ensure that expenditure is promoted and hoarding money through savings is demotivated.

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In the event of a long downturn, some of these companies may even go out of business. Investors cannot control the cycles of the economy, but they can tailor their investing practices to its ebb and flow. Adjusting to economic transitions requires an understanding of how industries relate to the economy. There are fundamental differences between companies that are affected by broad economic changes and those that are virtually immune to them. Consumer staples are products that are understood to be regularly purchased by the largest majority of consumers. In some cases, a staple is a product considered to be a necessity, such as basic food items.

These indicators are also important for predicting trends for the consumer discretionary and consumer staples sectors. The automobile industry designs, produces, and markets cars, trucks, buses, and other types of vehicles. The industry is one of the most capital-intensive, as it requires billions of dollars to build plants and acquire technology.

Top Consumer Discretionary Stocks

The consumer discretionary sector comprises businesses that sell nonessential products and services that consumers may avoid without any major consequences to their well-being. Unlike consumer discretionary goods, consumer staples products, such as food, beverages, and tobacco, are goods that consumers tend to buy regardless of where the economy is in its business cycle. Buoyed by the persistent demand of their products, consumer staples companies generate consistent revenues, even in recessionary periods. As a result, consumer staples stocks decline far less during bear markets than stocks in other sectors. With some products, such as food, alcohol, and tobacco, demand sometimes actually increases during economic downturns. Consumer staples, also known as “consumer non-cyclical stocks,” tend to maintain more price stability in a down market than cyclical stocks.

  • On the other hand, when an economy is contracting, consumers usually earn less and focus their spending more on products essential to their needs.
  • An inferior good is a good whose demand drops when people’s incomes rise; “inferior” indicates affordability, not quality.
  • This information should not be considered complete, up to date, and is not intended to be used in place of a visit, consultation, or advice of a legal, medical, or any other professional.
  • Vanguard, for example, offers VDC, a consumer staples ETF, and a Consumer Staples Index mutual fund.

Examples of companies operating in this industry include Under Armour, Inc. and Coach, Inc. . Examples of leisure products companies include Mattel, Inc. and Callaway Golf Company . The household durables industry manufactures products that cannot be consumed immediately and are bought only infrequently. Examples of household durable goods include lawn and garden equipment, home and office furnishings, appliances, photographic equipment, and sporting goods. The car manufacturing industry is cyclical, and therefore this creates a fluctuating demand for auto parts, resulting in high volatility in the industry’s profitability. The industry is highly competitive and consists of numerous companies of different sizes.

How the Consumer Discretionary Sector Works

Not all of these basic goods are defensive by default, but some can maintain stable prices during an economic decline. For instance, gold has historically produced a high return amid economic volatility because many investors see it as a safer alternative to stocks. Fidelity Select Gold Portfolio is an example of a mutual fund that targets gold.

Industry performance is a useful gauge of trends in consumer spending. Consumer discretionary industries tend to thrive when people feel confident about income and spending is strong. Consumer staples stocks may even present attractive investment opportunities during a recession.

Unilever stands out for its poor environmental record, though it has recently announced plans to drastically reduce its footprint before the end of the decade. A multinational, member-only big box chain, Costco is the fifth largest retailer in the world, according to the National Retail Foundation. The company operates 800 stores worldwide, though stores exist in fewer than 20 countries and almost 70% of its stores are located in the U.S.

An example of this phenomenon is seen in the volatile returns of consumer discretionary stocks during most of 2020 and 2021. When the COVID-19 pandemic started and the market initially crashed, consumer cyclicals did poorly. You may remember stores being sold out of consumer staples such as toilet paper, but sales of discretionary goods suffered at the same time. Industries in the consumer discretionary sector include automobiles; apparel; consumer services such as hotels, entertainment, and restaurants; retailing; and residential construction. Because the goods are non-essential, consumer cyclical stocks generally move in tandem with the market.

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Typically, gross domestic product is the number one metric for analyzing an economy. When GDP is growing, it indicates a strengthening economy where people and businesses are willing to spend more. Conversely, when GDP is decreasing, it is an indication of economic contraction and the need for spending prudence. Consumer discretionary is a term that describes goods and services that consumers consider non-essential but desirable if their available income is sufficient to purchase them. Personal consumption expenditures is a measure of consumer spending and includes all goods and services bought by U.S. households.

Furniture, decor and cleaning products are all included in this category. Food staples include companies that make cereals, snacks and other dry goods. Beverages can include alcohol but are more often colas and energy drinks. Since being spun off, Philip Morris has grown its market cap to be higher than Altria’s, making it one of the biggest sin stocks in the world. PG is one of the biggest employers in Cincinnati, Ohio, where it has its headquarters.


People buy staples in boom times and in bust times, which makes consumer staples stocks good performers no matter what’s happening in the broader economy. That’s why they’re often considered defensive safe havens during a recession. Non-cyclical stocks are companies from which people will continue to consume their products even during an economic downturn. These often include consumer staple goods, food, gasoline, utilities, and pharmaceuticals/healthcare. Sometimes analysts break down cyclical stocks into consumer and non-consumer.

This elastic demand means that it can plummet very quickly in response to decreases in consumers’ incomes or increases in prices of consumer discretionary goods. The sector includes numerous companies operating in various industries, including retail, media, restaurants, consumer durables, and apparel. By contrast, if you spread your money among funds in the healthcare, consumer staples, utilities, and telecommunications sectors, you can enjoy greater diversification. In turn, you would reduce—but not eliminate—the amount of loss you might experience in your portfolio if one defensive industry were to decline. That is because not all of these industries will go up or down in price under the same types of economic conditions.

You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in oureditorial policy. “Defensive” stocks can be found in many industries if the firm has strong earnings, innovation, pricing power, and a track record of disrupting the status quo. With people having more money, they also tend to spend more, which causes increased demand. Excess circulation of money leads to inflation as money loses its purchasing power. Walt Disney is one of the best picks from the entertainment industry. As of August 2021, Walt Disney has a market capitalization of $324.01 billion.