the Top 20 Things Consumers Pay for No Matter If in a Recession

Even during a recession, consumers typically have certain expenses that they cannot avoid or put off indefinitely.

Here are 20 things that consumers generally continue to pay for:

  1. Rent or mortgage payments
  2. Utilities such as electricity, water, and gas
  3. Food and groceries
  4. Health insurance and medical expenses
  5. Car payments and insurance
  6. Internet and phone bills
  7. Childcare expenses
  8. Pet food and vet bills
  9. Student loans
  10. Home repairs and maintenance
  11. Personal care items such as toiletries and hygiene products
  12. Clothing and footwear
  13. Public transportation or gas for a personal vehicle
  14. Property taxes
  15. Life insurance and other insurance policies
  16. Taxes on income, property, and other items
  17. Basic household items such as cleaning supplies and kitchenware
  18. Education expenses such as tuition and textbooks
  19. Charitable donations or tithes to religious organizations
  20. Entertainment expenses such as streaming services or books.

While some of these expenses can be reduced or deferred during tough economic times, many are essential for daily living and cannot be eliminated altogether. It’s important for consumers to prioritize their spending and make smart financial decisions to weather a recession or other financial challenges.

A recession is a period of economic decline that typically lasts for at least two consecutive quarters. During a recession, consumers tend to curb their spending habits and focus on their essential needs. However, some products and services are more resilient to recessions than others, because they are either necessary, affordable, or enjoyable for consumers.

Here are some examples of things that consumers pay for no matter if in a recession:

Groceries. Food is a basic human need that cannot be easily substituted or eliminated. Consumers may switch to cheaper brands or private labels, but they still need to buy groceries to feed themselves and their families(

Healthcare. Medical care is another necessity that consumers cannot afford to skimp on, especially if they have chronic conditions or emergencies. Healthcare spending may decline slightly during a recession, but it is still one of the largest and most stable categories of consumer spending(

Utilities. Electricity, gas, water, and other utilities are essential for maintaining a comfortable and functional living environment. Consumers may try to conserve energy and reduce their bills, but they still need to pay for these services(

Personal care products. Items such as deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, and feminine hygiene products are considered non-negotiable by most consumers, regardless of the economic situation. These products are relatively inexpensive and have a high frequency of purchase(

Household cleaning products. Consumers also need to keep their homes clean and sanitary, especially during a pandemic. Products such as detergent, bleach, disinfectant wipes, and toilet paper are in high demand and low elasticity(

Pet care products and services. Pets are often treated as family members by their owners, who are willing to spend money on their food, grooming, veterinary care, and toys. Pet spending tends to be resilient during recessions, as owners prioritize their pets’ well-being over their own discretionary spending(

Education. Education is seen as an investment in one’s future and a way to improve one’s skills and employability. During a recession, many people may enroll in online courses, certifications, or degree programs to enhance their resumes and increase their chances of finding a job or advancing their careers(

Entertainment. Even during hard times, consumers need some form of entertainment to relieve stress and boredom. Entertainment spending may shift from expensive activities such as traveling or dining out to more affordable ones such as streaming services, video games, books, or music(
Alcohol and tobacco. Some consumers may turn to alcohol and tobacco as coping mechanisms during a recession, while others may view them as indulgences that they are not willing to give up. Alcohol and tobacco sales tend to be stable or even increase during recessions, as they have addictive properties and low price sensitivity(

Coffee. Coffee is another product that has a loyal and habitual customer base that is not easily deterred by economic downturns. Coffee consumption may decline slightly during a recession, but consumers may switch to cheaper brands or brew their own coffee at home instead of buying from cafes(