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Is it correct to say "electronics products" or "electronic products"?

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There's a very, very slight difference in meaning: electronic refers, basically, to what's inside; essentially anything that uses electricity (rather than, say, steam), and is controlled by electrical signalling/switching rather than mechanical, is "electronic". Electronics, on the other hand, refers to a class of products, generally intended for use by the public rather than by industry, and often for entertainment rather than utility. The Consumer Electronics Association, which puts on the annual Consumer Electronics Show (better known as CES), is largely responsible for establishing and maintaining the distinction between the two, I think.

A CNC laser cutter is an electronic product; an iPod is an electronics product.

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+1 for a very good point that completely slipped me by. – rintaun Jun 24 '11 at 5:15

Both forms are perfectly okay. The second is over twice as common as the first, but there's no significant difference in meaning. Here's a chart of written usage...


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The difference between "electronic product" and "electronics product" is this:

An "electronics product" is a product dealing with electronics, i.e. diode, or transistor, etc.

An "electronic product" is a product that runs on electricity, i.e. An electronic toy, or calculator etc.

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This (electronics product: something you get from Radio Shack or Mouser; electronic product: something you get at Best Buy) is how I parsed the difference as well, but I would be interested in seeing a more definitive reference. – dmckee Jun 24 '11 at 15:40

Either is correct, but "electronic products" is much more common; simply "electronics" is much, much more common even than that.

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Bare 'electronics' can be other things too - field of study, for example. You need at least sufficient context to allow 'products' to be inferred if it's not explicitly specified. – FumbleFingers Jun 24 '11 at 4:52
@FumbleFingers Yeah, I suppose you're right. But without any particularly special context, I think it generally refers to products, at least in everyday speech. – rintaun Jun 24 '11 at 4:56
Agreed it is the default. So really I guess I'd have to say that total lack of any other context constitutes sufficient 'product' context in and of itself. My second sentence wasn't one of the best I've ever written! :) – FumbleFingers Jun 24 '11 at 5:03

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