When a consumer purchases a home, they are investing in our economy, the future of the workers who built the home, and their own future. When a consumer purchases a washer and dryer, they are investing in the future of the company and workers who made the washer and dryer. Purchases are investments in the future of our economy.
Say you have a carpeted home, and you want to keep the carpets looking brand new and fresh. If you go and purchase a good vacuum cleaner that will able you to keep that carpet for years and avoid thousands of dollars worth of carpet re installations. So yes, many times purchases are investments.
Whenever a consumer makes a purchase they are absolutely making an investment. Whether its food to invest in a matter of living or dying or whether its a house to invest in some place to lives purchases are investments to consumers. While the immediate benefit or investment of the purchase may not be clear at first, all purchases are investments.
In general, I would say that most purchases are indeed investments because you are exchanging money for a product or service that will (hopefully) benefit you over a given amount of time. However, not all purchases are GOOD investments. Some assets depreciate in value while others appreciate. Additionally, some products are useful for years while others may only last for a day or two.
It depends on what's being purchased, but I would say that most consumers are simply consuming when they buy something. I'm certainly not making a long term investment when I buy a rotisserie chicken at Costco. Works of art, houses, literature (to an extent) -- those are investment purchases. Everything else is just a commodity.