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An industry is a classification that groups together companies and organizations engaged in similar or related economic activities. Industries are more specific than sectors and are based on the nature of the products and services offered by the companies. The classification helps in analyzing patterns in business growth, investment strategies, and economic performance.


An industry consists of businesses that produce or supply similar goods, services, or sources of revenue. This categorization helps in understanding the competitive environment and operational structures that companies within the same industry typically share. For instance, companies within the automobile industry produce vehicles and share similar supply chains, regulatory environments, and customer bases.

Number and Types of Industries

The number of industries can vary depending on the classification system used. The Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS), for example, identifies 158 sub-industries grouped into 11 sectors. Another popular classification system, the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), identifies hundreds of industries by providing a detailed breakdown based on economic activities.

Industry Types or Groups

Besides their broad sector classification, industries can also be grouped by various other criteria, such as:

  1. Nature of Goods or Services: Industries may produce consumer goods, capital goods, or services. For example, the “Apparel Industry” (consumer goods), “Industrial Machinery Industry” (capital goods), and “Banking Services Industry” (services).
  2. Stage of Production: Industries can be categorized into primary (extraction and agriculture), secondary (manufacturing and construction), and tertiary (services) industries.
  3. Market Size:
    • Niche Market: Industries that cater to specialized market needs with unique or luxury products.
    • Mass Market: Industries that target large audiences with widely needed products.
  4. Regulatory Environment:
    • Heavily Regulated Industries: Such as pharmaceuticals, banking, and utilities, where companies must comply with extensive rules and regulations.
    • Lightly Regulated Industries: Such as the technology sector or certain parts of retail.
  5. Technology Intensity:
    • High-Tech Industries: Such as aerospace, information technology, and biotechnology.
    • Low-Tech Industries: Typically include traditional manufacturing or agriculture.

Industries can also be classified based on their growth patterns (emerging, mature, or declining), which can impact investment and strategic business decisions. Understanding these various dimensions helps stakeholders navigate economic landscapes and align their operations or investments according to industry dynamics and potential.