Emergency Logistics Glossary

What are tangible goods?

Material goods examples and definition

The term tangible goods is used as a generic term for consumer goods and durable goods. Depending on whether the focus is on production or consumption, the following characteristics are typical for consumer goods:

  • consumer goods are used in the production process of other goods
  • they undergo a qualitative change during the production process
  • they are used up in the course of the act of consumption

As opposed to consumer goods, producer goods can be defined as goods which:

  • represent technical potentials, which can be used in the production of other goods or services
  • serve as durable consumer goods for multiple use

Typical examples of durable goods are motor vehicles, machinery, and similar durable goods; examples of non-durable goods include cleansing supplies, lubricants and also food products.

What are examples of tangible and intangible goods?

Tangible goods are a subcategory of the category goods. In economics, goods are often classified as general term for goods or resources that satisfy a need. There are two types of goods:

  • Material goods
  • Immaterial goods

Tangible Assets

Tangible assets, or tangible goods, are products characterized by the following properties:

  • exist in a physical form and can be touched, seen and felt
  • only available to a limited extent
  • have a monetary value

Movable goods vs. buildings

With regards to logistics, it is also important to distinguish between mobile and immovable goods.
Movable goods are goods that can be exchanged for monetary payments in the course of commercial traffic. In contrast to immovable goods (“real estate”), such movable goods are generally also referred to as goods. Intangible goods are opposed to both movable and immovable goods.

Material goods vs. Intangible goods

One of the biggest differences between tangible and intangible assets is how they are valued. An intangible asset is an asset that has no material or physical substance and no tangible object of value. Intangible assets can also be intellectual property, created by human intellect. Typical examples for intangible assets are:

  • Usage rights and licenses
  • Patents und manufacturing processes
  • Customer base and business value

Services, information, and rights can also be classified as intangible assets. In this case, both tangible and intangible goods represent assets that are listed in a company’s balance sheet. In accounting, intangible goods are therefore also referred to as non-physical assets.

Intangible goods as products

By its very nature, intangible goods are always intellectual property. Nevertheless, there are companies that market their intellectual property as a product. These companies do not produce goods in the proper sense. Instead, they market plans, designs, or software, for which they grant licenses for use.
The specific method of delivery does not matter for the classification of a product as an intangible good. That means for example that software can be offered to users as a cloud-based solution using the “Software as a Service” (SaaS) principle, as well as a software on a physical data carrier. In both cases, the actual product is an immaterial good.

Transporting goods safely with time:matters

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