Goods versus Services

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Meaning of Goods

In general language, goods are those things that are touchable and saleable. But in economic language, along with touchable and saleable attributes they must be able to provide utility or satisfaction to fulfill human wants. So, goods are tangible objects that satisfy people’s wants. For example, goods are items that we buy, such as books, pens, salt, shoes, food, clothing, toys, furniture, etc. Anything to be counted as goods must provide utility to fulfill human wants.

Features of Goods

The chief features of goods are:

  • Goods must be material and visible
  • They must have transferability character (can be transfer ownership of goods)
  • Goods are subject to store

Meaning of Services

In general language, services mean to help other persons. But in the language of economics, service means the economic actions of human beings. A service is an act that a person performs or does for someone. It is the performance of any duties or professional activity for others. For example, health service, education service, communication service, etc. We can say commodities to Goods and services together.

Features of Services

The chief features of the services are:

  • No, any physical existence.
  • There is no physical structure of any service (i.e. Size, shape)
  • Services are consumed at the spot
  • They are not a subject to the store for future

Economics is concerned with the production and distribution of goods and services.  Goods and services must be produced using scarce resources (human, capital, natural).  The meaning of goods is related to physical things and the meaning of service is related to human actions.

Difference between Goods and Services/Goods versus Services

The major differences between goods and services are below;

BasisGoodsServices/Non-Material Goods
ExistenceGoods have got certain form, shape, size, and design thus they have their physical existence.Services do not have any physical construction. Thus they do not have any form, shape, and size.
TransferabilityThey can be transferred from one place to another or from one person to another.Services cannot be transferred from one place to another or from one person to another.
VisibleGoods are visible as they have certain physical construction.Services are invisible as they don’t have any physical shape and structures.
Time lagIn the case of goods, there may be a time lag between the consumption and production of goods.There is no time lag between the consumption and production of services.
StoringGoods once produced are either consumed or stored for future consumption.Service is not subject to the future store for future consumption. They are simultaneously consumed with delivery.
ExampleBooks, furniture, building, laptop, car, etc. are goods.A medical checkup by a doctor, teaching by a teacher, services rendered by officials, etc. are services.
Difference between Goods and Services/Goods versus Services


In economics, human wants are the preliminary point of all the economic undertakings. Every one of us has bundles of never-ending wants and desires and we always attempt to satisfy them within time. There are two things; goods and services that can have the power to satisfy our unlimited wants. Thus, goods and services are core factors or elements in the study of economic theories and they both have utility and satisfy human wants. Goods are always material and physical things and on the other hand, services are non-material things.


Agarwal, H.S. (1998). Microeconomic Theory. New Delhi: Konark Publishers Pvt. Ltd.

Mankiw, N.G. (2014). Principles of Economics. New York: Harcourt Brace College Publishers.

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