Holding Cost

What is Holding Cost?

Holding cost, also known as the carrying cost of inventory, refers to the cost that an entity incurs for handling and storing its unsold inventory during the accounting period (monthly, quarterly, annual) and is calculated as the total of storage cost, finance cost, insurance, and taxes as well as obsolescence and shrinkage cost.

Components of Holding Cost

It has the following key components:


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For eg:
Source: Holding Cost (wallstreetmojo.com)

#1 – Storage Cost

It refers to the cost attributable to storing the unsold inventory. it includes:

As per the CSCMP’s 30th Annual State Logistics Report, the total storage cost of US businesses was the US $ 153.10 billion in 2018.

#2 – Cost of Capital or Finance Cost

It refers to the average cost of investments or financing the warehouse facility and include the following:

As per the CSCMP’s 30th Annual State Logistics Report, the total finance cost of US businesses was the US $ 192.50 billion in 2018

#3 – Insurance and Taxes

It refers to the cost of insurance of inventory and premises as well as the cost of taxes.

#4 – Obsolescence & Shrinkage Cost

In the case of holding inventory, specifically like technology or software inventory, there is always a chance of inventory becoming obsolete. It may not sell for an extended period due to technological advancements. Thus, Shrinkage cost means the cost incurredThe Cost IncurredIncurred Cost refers to an expense that a Company needs to pay in exchange for the usage of a service, product, or asset. This might include direct, indirect, production, operating, & distribution charges incurred for business operations. read more due to damage of inventory, or spoilage of inventory in case of perishable products, or loss incurred due to theft.

As per the CSCMP’s 30th Annual State Logistics Report, the total insurance and incurs the cost of US businesses were the US $ 148.10 billion in 2018.

Holding Cost Formula

The inventory holding cost can be calculated as:

Inventory Holding Cost Formula = Storage Cost + Cost of Capital + Insurance & Taxes + Obsolescence Cost

Examples of Holding Cost

Let’s discuss some examples.

Example #1

ABC Inc is holding inventory worth the US 400,000 and has a total carrying cost, which adds up to 25%. Thus, the inventory holding cost for ABC Inc. will be $ 400,000 * 25% i.e. US $ 100,000.

Example #2

XYZ Inc. has taken a warehouse facility to store its inventories. The handling and storage cost is the US $ 20,000, and the insurance cost is US $ 3,500. The total inventory of the entity for the years is the US $ 200,000. The entity is paying interest of $ 7,500 as the cost of warehouse financing.

In this scenario, the inventory holding cost of XYZ Inc will be –


Inventory Holding Cost = Storage Cost + Cost of Capital + Insurance Cost = $ 20,000 + $ 7,500 + $ 3,500.

= $ 31,000.


It is the cost incurred to handle and store the inventory generally range between 15%-40% of total inventory cost, which further includes the costs attributable to storage and material handling charges, the financing cost, the opportunity cost of holding inventories, insurance, taxes, and obsolescence cost. Inventory holding costs may vary business to business as it depends on many factors such as inventory holding days, buying the premises vs. financing warehouse facilities, the average cost of capital, etc.

This article has been a guide to what is holding cost and its definition. Here we discuss components and formula to calculate inventory holding cost with the help of some examples. You can learn more from the following articles –

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