What Are Capital Goods? Types, Example, 8 Facts

Capital goods are the permanent or physical assets acquired by a company in order to manufacture completed products or consumer goods. Cash is not easily transformed into capital assets. They are resilient and do not deteriorate rapidly. Let’s learn from the article below.

What Are Capital Goods?

Capital goods are tangible assets that a corporation use in the manufacturing process to make goods and services for consumers.

What Are Capital Goods?

Capital goods consist of structures, machinery, equipment, vehicles, and instruments. Capital goods are not final products; rather, they are utilized in the production of final commodities.

Understanding Capital Goods

Due to their physical form, tangible assets are the name given to capital products. Capital goods are the assets that businesses utilize to make items that can be used by other businesses to produce completed goods.

Automobile, airplane, and machinery manufacturers are included in the capital goods sector since their products are utilized by enterprises engaged in manufacturing, shipping, and other activities.

In other words, capital goods do not create satisfaction (referred to as utility in economics) for the consumer; rather, they are utilized to make the final product, which does create satisfaction.


Non-consumed capital assets cannot be fully deducted as business costs in the year of acquisition.

Rather, they must be depreciated over the period of their useful life, with the firm receiving partial tax deductions during the years that the capital assets are in use. This is accomplished by accounting methods like depreciation.

Depreciation represents the yearly decline in value of a tangible item over its useful life. Depreciation enables a business to earn income from an asset by deducting just a fraction of its cost each year.

When an asset is expensed, its annual cost is subtracted from profit or net income, resulting in a lower taxable income and tax savings for the corporation.

What Are Capital Goods?


If a corporation is extracting natural resources, such as lumber, depletion is an accounting method used to spread out the expense of these resources as they are depleted or consumed. Utilizing either cost depletion or percentage depletion, one can calculate depletion.

When deducting the cost of standing wood, for instance, taxpayers must apply the cost depletion method, which is based on the total number of recoverable units and the number of units sold during the tax year.

Percentage depletion evaluates the cost of the materials as a proportion of the company’s annual gross income.

Notable Happenings

From the cotton gin to drones, the United States has been a pioneer in the development of capital goods. Silicon Valley has become the innovation hub of the United States since 2000.

The United States’ performance as a provider of capital goods has given it a comparative advantage, which has allowed it to maintain its position as the world’s biggest economy, despite China being a close second and being forecast to surpass the U.S. in the future years.

Numerous examples of new capital products creating economic benefits may be found throughout the history of manufacturing. These breakthroughs spurred the development of new sectors, allowing businesses and economies throughout the globe to expand.

Samuel Slater revolutionized textile manufacturing in 1789, and four years later, Eli Whitney created the cotton gin. These accomplishments made the United States the world’s leader in apparel production.

What Are Capital Goods?

The development of Morse Code and the telegraph in 1849, followed by the creation of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell in 1877, accelerated communication.

In 1879, Thomas Edison produced a safe incandescent lamp, allowing people to work longer hours and making city life simpler.

The development of steam locomotives from steamboats cleared the door for coast-to-coast trade, expansion, and travel.

In 1902, air conditioning made it possible for more people to reside in hot locations and made summer labor simpler.

The Wright Brothers created the aircraft in 1903, resulting in speedier travel.

In 1913, Ford’s assembly line enabled the mass manufacture of inexpensive automobiles. This led to the passage of the Federal Aid Highway Act in 1956, which improved shipping and created a better suburban standard of living.

Robert Goddard devised the liquid propulsion rocket in 1926, giving the United States a military advantage.

Types of Capital Goods

Capital goods, such as machinery and manufacturing equipment, are not always fixed assets. The industrial electronics business manufactures a wide range of capital goods, including a variety of gadgets.

Small wire harness assemblies, air-purifying respirators, and high-resolution digital imaging systems are examples.

For service firms, capital products are also manufactured. Among the numerous sorts of capital items acquired by service providers are hair clippers, paintbrushes, and musical instruments.

Core capital goods are a subset of capital goods that exclude airplanes and Defense Department-produced items, such as automatic guns and military uniforms.

The monthly Advance Report on Durable Goods Orders from the Census Bureau provides information on purchases of core capital goods, or Core CAPEX, for capital expenditure.

As a forward-looking measure of the extent to which firms intend to expand, this information is frequently monitored. Durable goods are products having a minimum three-year useful life expectancy.

Capital Goods vs. Consumer Goods

Capital goods and consumer goods are terms used to describe goods based on their use. A capital good is any good used for production. Consumer goods are those used by consumers and have no future productive use.

What Are Capital Goods?

The same physical good could be either a consumer or capital good, depending on how the good is used. For example, a riding lawn mower purchased by a land owner to mow the yard is a consumer good; the same lawn mower purchased by a lawn care business is a capital good.

Consumer Goods

A consumer good is any good purchased for consumption and not used later to produce another consumer good. Consumer goods are sometimes called final goods because they end up in the hands of the consumer or the end-user.

Examples of consumer goods include food, clothing, vehicles, electronics, and appliances. Consumer goods fall into three categories: durable goods, nondurable goods, and services.

Durable goods have a lifespan of more than three years and include motor vehicles, appliances, and furniture. Nondurable goods have a lifespan of fewer than three years. This includes items such as food, clothing, gasoline, and services like haircuts, oil changes, and car repairs.

The largest category of consumer products consists of fast-moving consumer goods, which include nondurable items such as food and beverages.

Key Differences

The purpose of capital goods is to help produce other products. They are meant to be used for production, while consumer goods are bought for personal and final consumption.

Businesses, companies, and manufacturers buy capital goods. Consumer goods are bought by consumers.

What Are Capital Goods?

Consumer goods are characterized by having a direct demand, as they directly satisfy the needs of consumers. On the other hand, capital goods have a derived demand since they indirectly satisfy consumer needs.

Consumer Goods vs. Capital Goods
 Consumer Goods  Capital Goods
 Intended For personal consumption inputs for production
End User consumers businesses
Marketing B2C B2B
Examples clothing, food, milk, furniture, cars, gasoline raw textiles, unrefined wheat, milking machinery, tractors, crude oil

Capital Goods vs. Consumer Goods Example

A capital good is a man-made product that is used in production. A pre-built computer purchased by a graphics design business is a capital good. Additionally, the components of that computer are capital goods because they were used to build a computer designed for commercial use.

The same manufacturer could sell the same computer for home use. This computer would be a consumer good, even if it had the same components as the one sold to the graphics design business.

Capital and consumer goods can be the same or different products; the distinction lies in how the goods are used and who uses them.

Do Durable Goods Include Both Capital Goods and Consumer Goods?

Yes, durable goods can be capital goods (man-made, durable items used by businesses to produce goods and services, like tools, buildings, vehicles, machinery, and equipment), as well as consumer goods.

Consumer goods that have a long life span (i.e., over three years) and are used over time are considered durable goods. Examples include vehicles, appliances, and technology.

What Is the Difference Between a Capital Good and Capital Stock?

Capital goods are the production-related assets utilized by businesses and manufacturers. The total physical capital accessible to a corporation is referred to as its capital stock (in the form of plant, property, equipment, machinery, etc.).

Additionally, capital stock can refer to the number of common and preferred shares that a firm is permitted to issue.

Is a House a Capital Good?

A house can be a capital good if it’s used by a business to produce goods and services. Just like tools, vehicles, machinery, and equipment, buildings can also be capital goods.

What Are Capital Goods?


A clear example would be a hotel. In most scenarios, however, a house would be a consumer good because it is purchased primarily to reside in.

Examples of Capital Goods

Below are some examples of capital goods that are used in the various industries as well as examples of goods that can be both capital and consumer goods.

Capital Goods

  • Factories or assembly line equipment used to manufacture cars and trucks
  • Machines and technology
  • Types of infrastructure, such as trains and cable or broadband lines
  • Coffee machines used by a coffee shop

Capital and Consumer Goods

  • Automobiles used by a delivery company would be a capital good, but for a family, they would be a consumer good.
  • Ovens used by a restaurant would be a capital good but can also be a consumer good.
  • Computers can be used by companies but also by consumers.
  • Landscaping equipment can be used by landscaping companies and by consumers.

What Are Capital Goods?


In economics, capital goods are tangible objects that are used in the production of other goods or commodities or during the providing of services.

They can include things such as buildings, machinery, tools, computers and any other equipment that is used to make or do something else, which can then be sold to another party.

The means of production might be owned by individuals, businesses, organizations or governments. This term also refers to any material used or consumed while other goods are being produced or services are being provided.


Capital goods are man-made products used by a business to produce consumer or other capital goods. Consumer goods are products used by consumers. Capital goods include items like buildings, machinery, and tools. Examples of consumer goods include food, appliances, clothing, and automobiles.

From Academic Kids

Capital goods include factories, machinery, tools, and other buildings. They are different from raw materials which are used up in the production of goods. Capital goods are different from financial capital.

Money is not capital as economists define capital because it is not a productive resource. While money can be used to buy capital, it is the capital good (things such as machinery and tools) that is used to produce goods and services.
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