"Industrial goods" refers to the instruments or machinery and parts used in the manufacture of "consumer goods," the items sold directly to the public. Industrial goods range from the tool and die equipment used to manufacture machinery for production of parts to be assembled into a final product for distribution to the consumer, to the machinery actually used in assembling the components into a retail product. In contrast, then, consumer goods are the products that line retail store shelves. Consumer goods, obviously, include everything sold to the public, including computers, tractors for the agricultural and transportation sectors, furniture, houses, and more.
The link provided below to biz.yahoo.com provides a useful breakdown of the major categories of industrial goods as analyzed by sector. By tracking such categories as "lumber and building supplies" and "general building materials," the government, business analysts and others can track the overall state of the economy, as these sectors generally provide good indicators of the economic welfare of the nation as a whole. The welfare of the home construction industry, for instance, is a commonly-used indicator of the overall strength or weakness of the U.S. economy, as it is directly linked to the propensity of the American public to exhibit tendencies associated with upward mobility.