Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Business Sectors

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There are three main sectors of industry

  • The Primary Sector
  • The Secondary Sector
  • The Tertiary Sector


The Primary Sector

This sector is involved with gathering the raw materials from which everything else is made.

Types of industry in the primary sector are:

  • Farming - the production of food
  • Mining – mining metals and minerals
  • Fishing – catching and gathering food from seas, rivers and lakes
  • Forestry – growing and managing forests for wood production

Each of these primary industries has traditionally been labour intensive. Most of the work was done by people, and little or no information technology was used. This has now changed, particularly in the developed world.

Farmers often use computers and software to manage the farming paperwork. Fishing ships and boats use computerised sonar devices to find shoals of fish, and global positioning systems to navigate the seas.

The Secondary Sector

The secondary sector processes the raw materials from the primary sector. This means that they take the raw materials and make them into finished items.

Types of industry in the secondary sector are:

  • Food and drink - processing raw foodstuffs, such as making wheat into bread.
  • Manufacturing cars
  • Building

Many centuries ago a lot of these types of industry used simple tools, then during the Industrial Revolution mechanical tools were invented to make life easier. Nowadays manufacturing processes are often controlled by computers and use robots.

Computers are used to control food processing so that the product is always the same. Robots are used to do the welding, painting and other processes involved in car manufacture.

The Tertiary Sector

The tertiary sector comprises the service industries.

Types of industry in the tertiary sector are:

  • Banking
  • Insurance
  • Delivery services
  • Health services
  • Education
  • Police

These industries involve a lot of paperwork. Paper records were originally handwritten, then machinery such as the typewriter and calculator made paperwork quicker and more efficient. Now ICT has replaced these older methods. Computers are used to word process, calculate and maintain data records.