Money can buy intangibles

Material and immaterial goods


Types of goods
Worksheet: Schematic overview of the types of goods

Tangible and intangible goods

A distinction can be made between material and immaterial goods according to their nature.

Material goods are also referred to as material goods. They are physically present: vehicles, machines, food are examples of material goods. Such products are typically manufactured without involving the service recipient in the production process. Even with individualized material goods, such as buildings, order-specific special machines, tailor-made clothing, the degree of integration of the service recipient is generally only given at the time of the service definition, but not during the process of service provision.

Intangible goods are not representational. The most important group within intangible goods are services. These include, for example, services from insurance companies, banks, transport companies, hospitals, etc. Services are characterized, among other things, by the fact that production and consumption coincide in time and place. They cannot be stored. Only intermediate inputs that are included in services can be created in advance. Instead of storage, there is the provision of service options, e.g. a hairdressing salon, a doctor's practice, a hotel. Services are only possible through close cooperation between the service recipient and the service provider. In contrast to material goods, there is a high level of integration here.

Another important group of intangibles is information. They are messages about a fact (e.g. about an event, about a decision, a state, etc.) that are new and useful for the recipient. Another group is formed by the rights, e.g. patents, the copyright for books, music, etc., the right to trademarks such as "Persil", "Toblerone", "Lacoste" etc.


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