Goods vs Products
Which is a correct usage, electronic goods or electronic products? In businesses, it is common to talk about both goods and services as products of a company. A good is defined as something tangible, whereas a service is always intangible such as a lawyer’s advice or maintenance of your computer by a professional. However, it is common to talk about products of a company, and we refer to the product line of a company when describing the goods and services offered by it. For most of us, goods and products are synonyms to be used interchangeably. Let us take a closer look.
The word ‘goods’ is more common and popular than products, which is reserved to refer to the range of goods made by a company. Otherwise it is capital goods, consumer goods, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), electronic goods, industrial goods, and so on. Whether you buy a soap, toothpaste, oil, or shampoo, you are actually buying fast moving consumer goods. On the other hand, a TV, motor cycle, Washing Machine, hair dryer, oven, computer, laptop, mobile are all referred to as durable goods. It is seen that whether items or articles produced are used by end consumers for personal use (such as soap, shampoo, cold drinks etc), or durable items like TV, DVD player, toaster, iPod etc, (which are experienced by one or many), they all, are referred to as goods only. One kind of items that are always called goods and never products are electrical items. Whether it is wire, switches, fans, bulbs, CFL, tube light or any other related items, they are all electrical goods and not products.
Coming to the term product, have you ever heard of financial goods? No, there are only financial products just as there are petroleum products, and not petroleum goods. Again, there are nutrition products and healthcare products, and not healthcare goods. When a bank manager talks about insurance policies being offered by it or different types of loans that the bank is providing to the needy, it is actually talking about the range of financial products it has to serve the people of the country. We talk about farm produce or products that we get from a farm. Similarly there are poultry products and not poultry goods.
The word product has another usage and that is to refer to a person as a product of a particular college or university. He is a product of Cambridge University and it seems perfectly normal to talk this way. It is also used to refer to excretion by human beings and animals as waste products. Ever wondered why it is never waste goods?
If we go by their definitions, there is not much to choose between goods and products, and hence, it all boils down to the usage of these two terms as well as contexts where they are exclusively used.