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Consumer Discretionary Sector: Industries Snapshot



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. The demand for consumer discretionary goods is typically much more elastic in comparison to consumer staples goods, which 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.


Consumer confidence plays a great role for the consumer discretionary sector. The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index provides a gauge of how optimistic U.S. consumers feel about the state of the U.S. economy and their expected spending habits. Other things that contribute to improvement in consumer spending power, such as higher wages or decreases in prices of other goods, can also improve economic prospects for the consumer discretionary sector. The sector is also facing secular trends that create headwinds, including a continued shift to online shopping and consumers’ pursuit of healthier lifestyles.



Auto Components Industry



Automobile Industry



Distributors Industry



Diversified Consumer Services



Hotels, Restaurants and Leisure



Household Durables



Internet and Catalog Retail



Leisure Products



Media



Multiline Retail



Specialty Retail



Textile, Apparel and Luxury Goods




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