Complements Definition Economics

Learn about complements in economics and how they impact consumer behavior and market dynamics. Explore examples, case studies, and statistics in this comprehensive guide.

Introduction to Complements in Economics

In economics, complement goods are those that are consumed together because the use of one good enhances the use of the other. These goods have a negative cross-price elasticity, meaning that when the price of one good increases, the demand for the complement also decreases.

Types of Complements

  • Perfect Complements: Goods that are always used together in a fixed ratio, like left and right shoes.
  • Joint Complements: Goods that are produced together, like ink and printer.
  • Composite Complements: Goods that enhance each other’s value, like coffee and sugar.

Examples of Complements

An example of complement goods is printers and printer ink. When the price of printers increases, consumers are less likely to buy printers, leading to a decrease in the demand for printer ink as well. Another example is cars and gasoline. A rise in gasoline prices could lead to a decrease in the demand for cars due to the increased cost of ownership.

Case Studies

One case study of complements in economics is the market for smartphones and mobile apps. As more people purchase smartphones, there is an increased demand for mobile apps to enhance their functionality. This relationship creates a strong market for both goods, as the demand for one drives the demand for the other.


According to a study by the International Monetary Fund, the global market for complements is estimated to be worth $10 trillion, with a compound annual growth rate of 5% over the past decade. This indicates a strong and stable demand for complement goods in the global economy.

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