Difference between Needs, Wants and Demands with Examples


How do you know if something is really worth pursuing? When it comes to satisfying needs, wants, and demands people are often confused. We all have needs, wants, and demands in our lives. We want certain things in life. Our wants and needs change with time. A lot of times when people think about a business they think about their product or service. However, you have to remember that a business is only as successful as the clients that use it. If you want your business to be successful then it is vital that you get in touch with what your clients need and wants and then find ways to satisfy them. So how does it work? Let’s find out!

What is a Need?

Human needs are a state of felt deprivation. In Maslow’s hierarchy need represent the basic physical needs for food, clothing, warmth, and safety. Marketers can’t create real needs; they are a basic part of human beings. They play a vital role. They are what make us who we are and how we live our lives. An example of a basic requirement for a human being is food. The agriculture sector works tirelessly to feed everyone. If you don’t have enough to eat or you can’t afford to buy food then your basic need is not being met. A person’s need is never fully satisfied; however, they can be partially satisfied depending upon the types of needs. An example of partial satisfaction of a human need is having money in the bank or having a roof over your head. When you satisfy the basic needs of human beings then you have satisfied their basic requirements for being alive.

What is a Want?

The form human needs take as they are shaped by culture and individual personality. The basic difference between needs and wants is that the wants are more sophisticated and require more effort to obtain. Examples of human wants include having money, having internet, having a Mercedes car, or being married. A want is not usually as basic as a need but it does have the same effect on the person who has it. The wants are what make us all different and what keeps our society moving forward. The need to be accepted by others and shown affection are the most basic of social needs. When a person feels rejected or judged they have an emotional reaction that results in stress.

What is a Demand?

When backed by buying power, want becomes a demand. Staying in star hotels, owning multiple real estate properties, buying luxury cars like BMW or a Mercedes can be considered as an example of demand. Demand is the force that helps society progress. When demand is satisfied, people feel better about themselves and this feeling increases their desire to work hard for what they want and that achieve status symbol. It sits right at the top of Maslow’s hierarchy with self-actualization. Specific products are designed and targeted to satisfy the conspicuous consumption of rich individuals. Brands like Louis Vuitton and Ferrari fall into this category.

Difference between Needs, Wants, and Demands

Difference between needs, wants, and demands

To recap:
Needs: The basic requirements for human beings to survive.
Wants: Need when shaped by culture and individual personality becomes want.
Demands: When backed by buying power, want becomes a demand.


To summarise, human wants and needs are the fundamental forces that move society forward. We all have basic needs like food, water, and shelter but we also have wants that can be more sophisticated than our basic needs. When people get these things they feel better about themselves and this helps them to achieve status symbols like cars or clothes. In order to satisfy these wants and needs, people buy goods and services. The type of goods that we buy is dependent on the status symbol we are trying to achieve. Marketing management should consider the underlying customer needs, wants, and demands of the consumer before devise any marketing strategy for their target market. Failure to understand the underlying basic needs will lead to marketing myopia. FMCG companies have cracked the art of evoking the underlying need of the customer through advertisement over the years. Maybe it’s time for emerging industries like IT to catch up.