The following points highlight the top seventeen characteristics of human wants.

Some of the characteristics are: 1. Human Wants are Unlimited 2. A Particular Want is Satiable 3. Wants Differ in Intensity 4. Wants are Recurrent 5. Wants are Competitive 6. Some Wants are Alternative 7. Some Wants are Complementary and Others.

Industrial Characteristics # 1. Human Wants are Unlimited:

There is no end to human wants. When one want is satisfied, another takes its place.

The never ending cycle of wants goes on. Man’s mind is of such shape and so made that he is never completely satisfied.


He always thinks and plans for more and more goods. Prof. Marshall has said—”Human wants and desires are countless in number and various in kinds.” On this the Law of Material Progress is based. Man always hankers after more and more goods. There is no limit to his wants so long as he breathes. Human wants keep on multiplying.

Industrial Characteristics # 2. A Particular Want is Satiable:

We are aware that wants are unlimited but it is possible to satisfy a particular want; provided one has the means to satisfy it. If a man is hungry, he takes food and the want is satisfied. In this way a particular want can be satisfied provided one has enough money for the purpose. On this activities in economics, the law of Diminishing Utility is based.

Industrial Characteristics # 3. Wants Differ in Intensity:

In life, all wants are not equally urgent and intense. Some wants are more urgent and important than others. Therefore, urgent wants are generally satisfied first while others are postponed.

Industrial Characteristics # 4. Wants are Recurrent:

Most of the human wants are of a recurring nature. This type of wants crop up again after some time. This applies to most of our routine expenditure, especially on food materials. These wants arise again and again and clamour for satisfaction.

Industrial Characteristics # 5. Wants are Competitive:


An important characteristics of want is that they are competitive in nature. It means the wants compete with each other due to limited resources to satisfy them. At a time an individual may have want for purchase of cloth, food, radio and television but he has limited resources to satisfy all the wants at a time.

He will use his limited resources to satisfy these wants in order of priority and preference. Thus, there is competition in the wants due to their different intensity to satisfy these wants. The law of substitution is based on this and we will discuss this law afterwards.

Industrial Characteristics # 6. Some Wants are Alternative:

Wants are alternative means several ways of satisfying a particular want. Suppose, you are thirsty, you can have soda-water, ‘Sharbat’ or ‘Lassi’ in summer and tea, coffee or hot milk in winter. These are different alternatives before us to satisfy our wants. The final choice depends on their relative prices and the money at our disposal to satisfy the wants.

Industrial Characteristics # 7. Some Wants are Complementary:

Some human wants are complementary which means these wants depend upon the wants of other commodities. For Example—The want of motor car is related to the wants of petrol. Similarly, wants of sugar and milk are complementary to want of tea. The theory of joint demand and the theory of inter-related values are based on this activities.

Industrial Characteristics # 8. Present Wants are more important than Future Wants:


The present wants are more important than future wants. The reason is that the future is uncertain. Thus every individual gives more importance to the satisfaction of present wants than the future wants. Time preference theory of Interest by Irving Fisher is based on this fact.

Industrial Characteristics # 9. Some Wants become Habits:

Some wants in human life becomes a matter of habit. If a particular want is regularly satisfied a person becomes used to it and it terms into a habit. For example—Taking tea, cigarette, wine etc. are used as a matter of habit. It must be taken regularly. That is how our young boys often become confirmed smokers or tea-takers.

Industrial Characteristics # 10. Wants Depend on Country, Time and Circumstances:

Wants are not always the same nor the same with every man. Different people want different things and the same man wants different things at different times and in different places according to situation and circumstances.

Industrial Characteristics # 11. Wants Increase with the Advancement of Civilisation and Economic Life:

It is an accepted fact that as the civilization spreads among people, their wants also go on increasing. That is why people living in urban areas have more wants than people living villages. This can be well studied that the wants of European and American peoples are more in number than those of the African people living in remote corner.

With the advancement of civilisation, the demand for radio, cinema, television, motor cars and other modern things are increasing.

Industrial Characteristics # 12. Wants are Determined by Social Customs, Fashion and Conventions:

Even at present many customs and usages rules the world. Many of our wants are conventional. They are decided to us by the society, whether we like it or not, we have to spend a lot of money on social functions and social ceremonies.

For example—Marriage expenses, expenses on death or on ‘Saradh’ ceremony. Farther, the social customs and some wants are effected by fashion. It is due to fashion that there is difference between wants of rich people and those of poor people.

Industrial Characteristics # 13. Wants are Changeable:

Human wants are not always the same but there is always chance according to time, place and environment. For example—In winter woolen clothes and heater and in summer cotton clothes, fan, “Sarbat”, tea etc. becomes essential.

Industrial Characteristics # 14. Some Wants Depend on Age:

Some wants vary with the age of the man. As the age advanced our wants increases. When a boy is child his wants are limited but wants increases with the increase in age. Wants of a child is less and limited with that of young and old man.

Industrial Characteristics # 15. Wants Give Birth to Inventions:


It has been said that “Necessity is the mother of inventions”. Varieties of medicine has come in the market because various types of diseases are found in society and new inventions and experiments are going on just to analyse how diseases can be curried.

Industrial Characteristics # 16. Wants are affected by Salesmanship Also:

In the market it is seen that we do not always buy the things we need. We are often induced to buy particular brands by persuasive salesman or impressive and effective advertisement even though better alterna­tives may be available there.

Industrial Characteristics # 17. Wants Increase with the Advancement of Knowledge and Science:

It has been observed that with the advancement of knowledge and science wants increases. With the increase in knowledge man becomes educated and civilized and need for need and modern things comes up. For example—with the invention of Radio, Television, and Gas cylinder our needs have gone very high.