Business Sector

Updated on March 26, 2024
Article byAswathi Jayachandran
Edited byAswathi Jayachandran
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What Is A Business Sector?

A business sector is a portion of the economy of businesses operating for profit. This sector does not include government organizations, private households, and non-profit organizations that provide services to people.

Business Sector

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The business sector is an important part of an economy since it is responsible for production and service activities to satisfy human needs and wants. In other words, its significant contribution to the GDP makes it an important sector. Moreover, the sector comprises many firms engaged in diverse activities, employing many people and contributing to innovations improving the standard of living. 

Key Takeaways

  • A business sector is a portion of the domestic economy where businesses acquire raw materials, sell finished products, and offer services. Typically, this sector excludes the government, private households, and not-for-profit organizations that offer services.
  • Businesses are broadly classified into four major sectors: primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary sectors.
  • It primarily creates and supplies goods or services. Production is the fundamental procedure through which resources are combined to produce a desirable good or service. 
  • The growth and prosperity of an economy depend heavily on businesses since it creates jobs. 

Business Sector Explained 

The business sector contributes to the growth of a nation. It portrays the part of the economy formed by businesses. It contains different industries; in other words, a sector is a collection of industries. An industry is a set of companies or businesses whose primary business activities are similar, such as the production of automobiles and the sale of food. Larger industry sectors can be formed from smaller industries like the automobile or food industries. Based on its primary activity, a certain business is identified as belonging to a specific industry. 

Production is the primary responsibility of business sectors. The sector creates and supplies goods or services. Production is the fundamental procedure through which resources are combined to produce a desirable good or service. Production often entails the physical transformation of raw materials into final goods. This transformation requires employment, and people are paid for it. The salaries and wages they receive are spent buying those produced products, kick-starting a cycle of economic activity. 

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Types of Business Sector

Businesses are broadly classified into four major sectors: primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary sectors. 

  • Primary: The primary business sector includes a wide range of firms that collect or gather natural resources. These products become raw materials for the secondary sector. Some, like basic foods, are also intended for final consumption. There are numerous sub-sectors within the primary sector, including agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and mining, and they also include simple processing tasks involving packing and raw material processing. A sizable portion of businesses in developing nations connects with the primary sector.
  • Secondary: The secondary business sector includes many companies that transform raw materials into finished goods. Goods that are produced can be finished or semi-finished. Then, semi-finished products are used by other companies in this industry. Overall, this industry generates the final product. Industries like manufacturing, construction, food and beverage, clothing, and textiles make up the secondary sector.
  • Tertiary: The tertiary business sector includes businesses that offer services. They offer commercial services to the general public and businesses in other sectors (primary and secondary). They include transportation, warehousing and logistics, banking and insurance, restaurants, and hotels. Businesses in this sector contribute significantly to the economy’s output and jobs, especially in developed countries.
  • Quaternary: The quaternary sector, as a service industry, is founded on knowledge. Research and development, information technology, computing services, and internet services are a few examples. It may still fall under the tertiary sector classification in some segregation. Due to its enormous economic impact, this sector has been separated into different sectors in developed nations. Companies in this sector offer services to the other three sectors. For instance, businesses in the tertiary sector, such as banks and hotels, manufacturers, agribusinesses, and other businesses, use the services of information technology organizations.


Some of the examples are the following:

Example #1

Dan is a farmer. He cultivates crops and sells them in the market. When he does not get much produce, he goes fishing in the nearest water source to feed himself and sells the extra catch. Here, Dan engages in two activities for his livelihood: one is farming, and the other is fishing. Both activities belong to the primary business sector, so it is safe to say that Dan is engaged in the primary sector.

Example #2

The activities of companies in the business sector contribute to the economy and society. Several events point to it; for example, the economic value that companies create flows to households in more than half of the OECD countries, and the sector comprising of corporations, partnerships, and sole proprietorships overall contributes to a significant percentage of GDP in the OECD.


  • They foster innovation and growth.
  • Create employment opportunities.
  • Boosts economic activity.
  • Helps local communities grow, especially small businesses.
  • Increases Gross Domestic Product and the resultant growth of a nation.
  • When productivity and sales increase, income increases, and governments tax that income. The income proceeds to fund public welfare projects, thus contributing to the country’s welfare.
  • They can result in exports or imports that influence the trade balances of the economy.
  • Through international trade, they can positively impact the relations between two nations.

Business Sector vs Industry vs Segment

Points Business sectorIndustry Segment
MeaningIt is a part of the domestic economy.An industry is a group of businesses connected by similar core business activities.A business segment is a division inside a larger enterprise that makes money from selling a product, a line of products, or a service unrelated to or related to the enterprise’s main field of specialization.
Size A sector is bigger than an industry and segment.An industry is smaller than a sector but bigger than a segment.The segment is smaller than the rest and a part of the industry and sector.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can the business sector contribute to the economy?

The growth and prosperity of an economy depend heavily on business. By creating jobs, goods, and services, businesses enhance the quality of life for the population. In essence, business success correlates to the economic well-being of an organization and the economy.

Which business sector is growing rapidly?

The technology industry, healthcare industry, and energy industry are a few industries that have grown in recent times. Furthermore, the growing sector mostly belongs to the services or tertiary sectors like leisure, hospitality, and health care.

Is the business sector a private sector?

The business sector is a subset of the private sector, but it varies from it in that it solely consists of businesses operated for profit. Whereas the private sector also includes all non-profit organizations.

This has been a guide to what is Business Sector. We explain it with its types, examples, advantages, and comparison with industry and segment. You can learn more about financing from the following articles –

Reader Interactions


  1. Hassan Aoun says

    This was very helpful thank you!

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