What is commodity? - Definition from WhatIs.com
Part of the Hardware glossary:

A commodity is a type of widely-available product that is not markedly dissimilar from one unit to another.

Within a category of commodity, one item or unit can be substituted for another with similar results. Examples of commodities, in the traditional sense, include sugar, wheat, rubber, fuel oil, cattle, gold, aluminum and wool – among a great number of other products. Other products, such as wind and solar power and greenhouse gas offsets are considered to be emerging commodities, for which the market is developing but not yet mature.

By definition, a commodity product lacks a unique selling point. In an IT context, the term usually differentiates typical consumer products from specialized or high-performance products. A commodity, in this context, is a low-end but functional product without distinctive features.  A commodity computer, for example, is a standard-issue PC that is widely available for purchase. 

As technologies and markets for a given product mature, it is more likely to be considered a commodity, at least in its more basic implementations.  According to some market analysts, the increasing ubiquity of smartphones and the consistency of features from one brand to another means that the products are becoming commodities.

This was last updated in September 2013
Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms


  • laser

    - A laser is a coherent and focused beam of photons; coherent, in this context, means that it is all one wavelength, unlike ordinary light which showers on us in many wavelengths. The acronym laser s... (WhatIs.com)

  • hardware virtualization

    - Hardware virtualization is the abstraction of computing resources from the software that uses those resources. Today, hardware virtualization is often called server virtualization or, simply, virtu... (SearchVMware.com)

  • robotics

    - Robotics is a branch of engineering that involves the conception, design, manufacture, and operation of robots. (WhatIs.com)


  • Hardware

    - Terms related to computer hardware, including definitions about cables, connectors and power supply units and words and phrases about computing peripheral devices including the keyboard, mouse, au...

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Ask a Question. Find an Answer.Powered by ITKnowledgeExchange.com

Ask An IT Question

Get answers from your peers on your most technical challenges

Ask Question

Tech TalkComment



    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.