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Industry types: Primary, secondary and tertiary industries

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Each industry is divided into different segments according to specialties, products, and addressed markets. An industrial company may belong to one of the industry types and provide industry-specific goods or services. Those kinds of companies are highly specialized operating in a specific industry segment.

Some companies may address more than one industries simultaneously. They prefer to allocate their operations to multiple sectors. Industry segments allow us to easily classify businesses and organizations that produce or distribute similar products and services. We can examine industries in three major categories: primary, secondary, and tertiary industries.

Before reading this post, you may want to read “Undestanding Industrial B2B Markets”.

industry types

Types of primary industry

The primary industry segment comprises industries producing raw materials for other industry types. This industry segment is regarded as the extraction and collection of resources that are considered natural. Types of primary industry include agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, and minerals extraction. Primary activities directly depend on the environment as these are related to the utilization of the earth’s resources. The products are extracted or harvested from the ground/underground. Also, the production of basic food items is a primary industry type. The primary industry divides into two sub-categories:

Genetic Industies

Genetic industries include activities connected with the rearing of animals and growing plants. This industry segment includes agriculture, forestry, livestock management, and fishing. The genetic industry also covers raw materials production that may be increased by human intervention in the production process.

Extractive Industries

This industry type includes mining for mineral ores, quarrying of stone, and fossil fuel extraction. The extractive industry comprises raw materials that cannot be augmented through cultivation.

The primary industry usually dominates the economies of undeveloped and developing nations. As secondary and tertiary industries are improved, the primary industry’s share tends to decline.

agriculture and livestock are important types of primary industry

Types of secondary industry

The secondary industry —aka manufacturing industry— includes converting raw material into goods. The secondary industry comprises operational activities that transform raw materials into products or goods. The secondary industry has been generated to meet the demand for more goods and services. It is the keystone that can change the economy of the countries.

This industry segment comprises many sub-industries involved in manufacturing a usable and finished product. It requires plants, manufacturing facilities, machinery, and energy to convert raw materials into functional products. The secondary industry divides into the heavy and the light industries.

Heavy Industry Types

The heavy industry refers to the manufacturing and production process on a large scale that involves manufacturing plants, factories, equipment, machine tools, and complex and large-scale infrastructure. It requires significant capital investment. Including other manufacturing industries, branches of this industry type serve a large and diverse market.

Heavy industry has a complex industrial organization and frequently a skilled specialized labor force, and generates a large output volume. Examples would include petroleum refining, steel and iron manufacturing, motor vehicle and heavy machinery manufacture, glass and various related product production, cement production, nonferrous metal refining, food-packing, and hydroelectric power generation.

Light Industry Types

Companies in this industry operate manufacturing activities that use a small amount of partially processed products or raw materials to convert them into valuable products. The light industry segment’s impact on the economy is low compared to heavy industries.

Light industry is labor-centered and does not require extensive facilities or a large quantity of raw/manufactured materials. Companies use materials to produce products for the end consumer. Examples would include clothing manufacture, manufacturing of food products, plastics manufacture, electronic components/computer hardware manufacture, precision instrument manufacture, gemstone cutting, and craftwork.

Heavy industry manufactures large industrial products and includes complicated manufacturing processes.

Types of tertiary industry

The tertiary industry refers to the commercial services that support the production and distribution process. Companies in this industry segment do not provide physical goods like the primary or secondary sectors, but they provide supportive value. The primary and secondary industry types focus on the tangible aspects of the economy. Distinctively, the tertiary industry works to offer professional services.

The tertiary industry operates directly with the primary and secondary industries but plays a particular role. Examples would include financial services, transportation, education, information technology, consulting, legal, maintenance, personal services, security, tourism, insurance, healthcare, and entertainment industries.

Companies in the primary or secondary industries will typically have outsourced teams who provide tertiary services such as advertising, accountants, and warehousing. The tertiary industry is usually the most substantial and powerful business segment in advanced country economies.

All B2B companies are parts of the economical chain

All industry types work together to create an economical chain. The primary industry extracts the materials, the secondary industry manufactures the goods, and the tertiary sector supports their activities. Those three industries make up the backbone of the modern economy. Besides the industry you work in, you should also have insight into other industrial markets that you interact constantly.

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