The difference between a durable and nondurable good is the length of time the good lasts before consumption. A nondurable good is defined as a product that lasts 3 years or less, while durable goods are those that last greater than 3 years.
Examples of durable goods include furniture, cars, large appliances and jewelry. Nondurable goods are products such as food, medications or electronic items intended for quick replacement. Some products, however, are both durable and nondurable, depending on their use. These products can be items such as clothing that may be durable or nondurable depending on the length of time that they're used by the consumer.
The production and sale of durable and nondurable goods are followed closely by economists, who use the sales data to track economic conditions as a whole. The markets for nondurable goods are mostly stable, with most nondurable goods, such as food or small electronics, changing little over the years. When the production of these nondurable goods grows, it is a good economic indicator that the economy is growing as a whole. Changes in durable goods can mean the same, with growth in production equaling growth in the manufacturing sector. This leads to more job availability. This growth in production can also be indicative of higher future interest rates.