Difference Between Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sector

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

The difference between Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sector is based on different business types and the goods they purchase and sell in the economy. Every sector depends on one another and contributes to the proper and efficient functioning of the economy. Their difference depends upon the services offered, the type of industries that can come under them, the employer rate, and the procedures they utilize. Industries play a vital role in any country and boost businesses and the world’s economy.

Difference Between Primary Secondary and Tertiary Sector PDF

The different industries and sectors ensure that the country’s people are employed and contribute to the growing economy. Industries are categorized into primary, secondary, and tertiary sectors based on income levels and economic activities. These characteristics contribute to the difference between the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors. In this article, read about the major difference between Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sector along with examples, and learn their influential role in boosting the country’s economy.

Difference Between Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sector

The significant difference between Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sector is the services they provide. The primary sector generates raw materials from agriculture, fishing, animal husbandry and mining.

  • On the contrary, the secondary sector deals with activities that produce finished products ready for consumption.
  • Moreover, the secondary industry takes the raw materials from the primary sector, which are further used to manufacture the finished products.
  • Lastly, the tertiary sector is the service sector which delivers services to both primary and secondary sectors.

The following table lists the difference between Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sector.

Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sectors

Difference Between Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sector


Primary Sector

Secondary Sector

Tertiary Sector


The primary sector includes the basic industries for providing basic materials to other industries.

The secondary sector includes industries that use basic materials to form new and improved materials.

The tertiary sector includes industries that supply the materials made by the secondary industries to the consumers.

Methods Used

Traditional methods, No specific organized procedure was followed.

Modern methods, An organized way of working.

Modern methods and algorithms. Organized and sophisticated logistic tools are used for the processes.

Types of Industries

Fishing, Mining, Agriculture, Animal husbandry, Forestry

Manufacturing Units (small and large)

Finance, Banking, Administration, Hotel, Tourism, Trade, Insurance, Communication

Also referred to as

Agriculture sector or allied services sector

Manufacturing sector

Service sector

Employer Rate

The largest employer rates are found in this sector

A moderate number of employer rates found in this sector

The employment rates are increasing.

Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sector

Businesses in India are divided into three major sectors. The primary sector includes fundamental industries. It is primarily involved in providing raw materials or basic materials to other industries.

  • Primary Sector, Secondary Sector and Tertiary Sector activities include mining and quarrying, poultry, fishing, animal husbandry, agriculture, and forestry.
  • Apart from this, there is a wide difference between Primary Secondary and Tertiary Sectors, which are regarded as 3 Main Sectors of the Economy.
  • The primary, secondary, and tertiary sectors include several industries.
  • The sectors are divided based on their economic activities.
  • All the sectors are essential for the economic development of a country.

The variations in the materials and methods used result in the difference between Primary Secondary and Tertiary Sector.

What is Primary Sector?

The sector is also known as the agricultural sector. It includes all financial activities linked with extracting and producing natural resources. The primary sector yields goods by exploiting natural resources.

  • It is disorganized and uses standard methodologies.
  • The primary sector comprises fishing, mining, and Agriculture.
  • These industries work on attaining the materials directly from nature.

What is Secondary Sector?

It is also referred to as the industrial sector. It deals with processing raw materials already prepared during the primary sector, e.g., iron ore is the primary industry. Still, the manufacture of steel is a secondary industry. It is a sector that is concerned with manufacturing.

  • The secondary industry converts one good into another by assembling more utility from it.
  • The secondary sector includes the industries which use basic materials to make other advanced materials.
  • For example, manufacturing steel, where raw materials are obtained from the primary sectors, is used to make better materials.
  • These industries use huge machinery and have production plants to produce the finalized product.

What is Tertiary Sector?

The third and most advanced sector is the tertiary sector, also known as the service sector. It provides support services to secondary and primary industries. The sector provides valuable services to both sectors for their functioning.

  • It is an organized sector and utilizes better strategies.
  • The services include Transport, Warehousing, Communication, Advertising, Banking, finance, wholesale, real estate, hotels, tourism, and security, and Insurance.
  • The tertiary sector includes industries to sell the materials produced by the secondary sectors.
  • The products developed by the secondary sectors are finally supplied to the consumers by the tertiary sectors.


Key Difference Between Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sector

The key Difference Between Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sector is that the primary sector involves gathering raw materials for the secondary sector. The materials are then converted into consumable items in the secondary sector. Finally, the tertiary sector distributes the final product to consumers.

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