Types Of Industries - Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary

The industry is where goods and services are produced on a huge scale. A country depends on its industries for economic development, while the industries depend on the country’s income. This article will talk about the three basic types of industries.

The three types of industries are:

  1. Primary industry
  2. Secondary industry
  3. Tertiary industry

Of course, there are quaternary and quinary sectors too, but we will stick to the three types of industries in this article.

A primary industry specialises in obtaining and purifying raw materials from the earth. These industries use natural resources such as trees, water, minerals, etc. Hence, they are dependent on the local produce. They are also involved in producing basic food items such as grains, vegetables, fruits, and fish. Some of the activities in a primary industry include farming, fishing, hunting, grazing, etc. Jobs in the primary industry are termed red-collar jobs.

A secondary industry gets the natural products from primary industries and processes them into usable and valuable products. The construction and manufacturing industries are two major secondary industries. For example, the textile industry uses cotton or wool to make clothing, the automobile industry uses steel, the paper industry uses wood, and so on. The workers in this sector are called blue-collar workers. Though secondary industries have always provided employment, the recent innovations in technology mean that more and more machines are taking the place of human labour.

A tertiary industry usually involves the production and exchange of services. This industry facilitates the movement of products produced by the secondary industries. Tertiary industries often provide services to consumers directly. Transportation, retail, hospitality, and communication are examples of tertiary industries. The workers in this industry are called white-collared workers. Many people are involved in this industry to ensure its smooth operation. Due to significant developments in this industry, the income levels of white-collar workers are typically high compared to other sectors.

This was the basic classification of the types of industries. Now, let us look at each of them in more detail.

Primary Industry

The primary industry is the most important industry of a country. It directly affects a country’s economy, and it is also directly dependent on a country’s natural wealth. The industry is involved with extracting natural resources and creating basic products that consumers or secondary industries can use. Therefore, the primary industry is heavily dependent on the raw materials and natural resources present around them such as vegetation, water, earth, minerals, oil, etc.

Agriculture, mining, forestry, oil and gas extraction, and fishing are the main primary industries. They cover a lot of processes, including grazing, damming, logging, hunting, trapping, farming, livestock management, and quarrying. 

In developing countries, primary industries are of much value compared to developed countries. For example, the primary industries in India are more crucial than in the USA. However, in some areas, whole regions have been built around a particular primary industry. For instance, some cities are developed around a mining industry. This is because the region solely depends on this industry for its survival and economy.

As we saw earlier, the workers in this sector are called red-collar workers. Farmers, miners, hunters, fishermen, etc., constitute this industry. 

Primary industries are further divided into two types:

  1. Genetic industry

The genetic industry consists of all the processes that include developing raw materials by human effort. Agriculture, fisheries, livestock management, and forestry are genetic industries. The quality of such industries can be improved using scientific research and technology. They are a renewable source of raw materials and have the potential to provide employment.

  1. Extractive industry

This type of primary industry consists of all the processes which involve extraction. Mining, quarrying, and oil extraction are extractive industries. The raw materials produced by this industry are limited, that is they cannot be renewed after the resource has been exhausted. For instance, a mine cannot generate coal once it is completely mined. Also, there is no way to improve the quality of the extract as they are naturally formed in the earth’s crust.

All over the world, primary industries are increasingly using technology for their processes. This results in unemployment for the red-collar workers. In some countries, where the population is high, this could lead to massive unemployment. 

Secondary industry

While the primary industries procure raw material directly from nature, secondary industries may be involved in three types of activities. They may – 1) obtain the raw materials from primary industries and convert them into usable goods, 2) obtain processed products from other secondary industries and process them further, or 3) make products used to produce consumer and non-consumer products. 

There are two main types of secondary industries – construction and manufacturing. Apart from these, industries that produce energy are also secondary industries. For example, the hydroelectric industry is a secondary industry as it primarily uses water as raw material to produce electricity.

Secondary industries often use machinery along with human labour to produce consumer goods with more precision and efficiency. Even in countries with lower populations, humans are employed for packaging, organising, inventory management, and so on.

Secondary industries are divided into two types:

  1. Heavy industry

Heavy industry is often called large-scale industry as it requires a significant amount of capital investment in factories and machinery. These industries usually involve complex processes and require industrial organisation and high skilled labour. Therefore, the output of such industries also happens on a large scale. 

Some examples of heavy industries are steel and iron manufacturing, petroleum refinery, motor vehicle manufacturing, heavy machinery manufacturing, cement manufacturing, metal refinery, hydroelectric power generation, meat cleaning and packing, etc.

  1. Light industry

The light industry is also known as the small-scale industry. It requires less investment in terms of factories, machinery, and labour. These types of industries typically require smaller quantities of raw material, less labour and smaller spaces and hence produce on a small scale. The workers involved in such industries may not be as skilled as those in heavy industries. 

Textile and clothing manufacturing, electronics and computer hardware manufacturing, plastic manufacturing, paper products manufacturing, food processing, craftworks, and gemstone cutting are some examples of light industries. 

Developed countries have a larger number of secondary industries. This is because their economy relies majorly on secondary industries rather than primary industries. Due to advanced technologies, even developing countries are catching up quickly in their production rates. 

Tertiary industry

A tertiary industry is typically involved in providing services. Hence, the tertiary industry is also called the service industry. These industries market a product and are involved in sales transactions with immediate consumers. They do not produce any goods themselves. Instead, they provide services that can improve society’s quality of living. These services include advice, care, safety, and access, among others.

Examples of the tertiary industry include banking, finance management, insurance, real estate, wholesale and retail, hospitality, transportation, communication services, legal services, repairing, tourism, entertainment, maintenance services, education, etc. In addition, other social services such as healthcare, security, police, defence, and administrative services are also included in tertiary industries.

The tertiary industry is classified into two categories:

  1. Financial industry

These industries are involved in generating income. They mainly deal in money and precious items such as gold and gemstones. People using these services are often advised with ways to keep their money safe and also increase it. The financial companies share their experiences and motivate people to save more for a better life. Banking, insurance, financial services are a part of this category, but other services that take money for a specific service also can be classified here.

  1. Non-financial industry

These typically include services that make no profit while rendering their services. Government-owned hospitals, police, administrative services, and public schools are the main examples of this category. Most of the services involved in this category are provided by the government and are ultimately funded by the taxpayer.

In the present economy, the tertiary industry generates the maximum revenue. Many of these industries provide tailor-made solutions to a consumer. They also continually improve or change based on customer feedback. This, in turn, enhances the quality of the customer’s life.

FAQs on types of industries

Which industry is the most important of all the three?

The primary industry is the most important for developing a country. The natural resources and the ability to farm them for use decide a country’s economy. However, once the basic start is given, all three types of industries are equally important.

What are the major differences between the primary and secondary industries?

The primary industry is involved in producing and extracting raw materials from nature. These products can be used directly(e.g., basic foods) or sent for further processing.

The secondary industry sources the products produced or retrieved by the primary industry and processes them to make consumer and non-consumer goods. Examples are the automobile industry using steel to make cars or the textile industry using cotton to make fabric.

How are all the three industries – primary, secondary, and tertiary industries interdependent?

The primary industry produces or extracts raw materials from nature. Agriculture, fishing, forestry, and mining come under the primary industry. The secondary industry uses these raw materials and makes consumer goods. The tertiary industry involves in transportation, retail, and marketing of the goods produced by both primary and secondary sectors.

Thus, all three industries are heavily interdependent and can operate seamlessly only if they work in tandem.

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