What are consumer goods? Definition and examples

Consumer goods are products that people buy and don’t use to make other things that are then sold. We can also call them final goods because when somebody buys them, they have reached their final destination.

Consumer goods are the end result of manufacturing and production. They are what we see on supermarket shelves. All the food and drink that we purchase in the supermarket, for example, are consumer goods.

Collins Dictionary has the following definition of the term:

“Consumer goods are items bought by people for their own use, rather than by businesses. Compare capital goods.”

What are consumers?

Consumers are people or other entities that buy goods or services. A person who uses a good or services that he or she buys is a consumer. Consumers do not sell what they bought – they ‘consume’ them. Hence, the name.

In the marketplace, consumers are key figures. Most of the activities of the sellers and makers of products and services are focused on consumers.

Consumer Goods - definition and examples
Consumer goods are goods that consumers buy and use, rather than goods that manufacturers use for producing other goods.

Consumer goods vs. capital goods

Goods are products. In other words, things that we grow or make and try to sell to buyers. We exchange money, for example, for goods and services.

Capital goods

Capital goods are things that businesses buy to make other things. These type of goods last a long time, i.e., they are durable.

Factory machinery, vehicles, and computers, for example, are capital goods.

Consumer goods

We do not buy a consumer good to make something else that we aim to sell. When somebody buys a consumer good, he or she uses it. These goods satisfy personal needs and not the needs required for the production of other products.

Durable and non-durable goods

What is the difference between durable and non-durable consumer goods?


Durable goods are things that last a long time. Refrigerators, TVs, and bicycles, for example, are durable goods. We do not buy them every week or every month.


We all buy food and drink on a regular basis. We buy bread, for example, usually at least once a week. Bread is a non-durable good. Drinks, shampoo, razors (for shaving), and food, for example, are non-durable goods.

If something is non-durable, it means that it does not last for a long time.

Three types of consumer goods

We classify consumer goods into three categories:

Durable goods.

Non-durable goods.

Services – the non-physical, intangible part of a nation’s economy. We cannot touch, see, or handle services. Education, transportation, window-cleaning, and banking, for example, are services. I cannot touch banking, nor can I weigh it or measure its length.

Services represent the main parts of the economies of the US, UK, and other rich nations. Even among the emerging nations today, services make up more than half of their GDPs. GDP stands for Gross Domestic Product.

White goods and brown goods

White goods are large household appliances such as freezers, stoves (British: cookers), refrigerators, washing machines, and dishwashers.

Brown goods are relatively light electronic appliances such as radios, computers, game consoles, digital media players, and televisions. They are portable and semi-portable household electrical/electonic goods.

Both white and brown goods are consumer goods.