What Are Consumer Durables?
Consumer durables are a category of consumer products that don't have to be purchased frequently because they last for an extended period of time.
Consumer Durable Goods vs. Non-Durable Goods
Consumer goods are divided into two categories: durable goods and non-durable goods.
Consumer durables have an extended product lifespan and aren't worn out/consumed quickly when they're used. Since they're made to last and don't need to be replaced frequently, durable goods are typically more expensive than non-durables (which have to be purchased repeatedly).
Example of Consumer Durable Products
A washing machine one of the most popular household durables. It takes many years and multiple uses to wear it out. The laundry detergent used in the washing machine, however, is a non-durable good since it needs to be purchased several times per year.
Why Are Consumer Durables Important?
Consumer durables make up a portion of durable goods sales, so changes in purchasing trends are important economic indicators. Because durables tend to represent big-ticket items, consumers typically make these purchases when they’re confident they can afford them.
Before a recession – when consumers have less confidence in the economy – there's a sharp drop in the sales of durable goods. This is important to remember when investing in companies that produce durables and when analyzing the current economy. You can review the current sales of durable goods on the Census Bureau's monthly 'Durable Goods Orders' report.