The term "private sector industries" refers to companies and corporations that are not controlled by the government. Such companies are generally broken down into three categories: industrial, commercial and agricultural. Industrial industries are those that manufacture goods, while commercial industries are those that sell goods and services. Agricultural companies produce and distribute foodstuffs and other items that are grown or raised.
In developed countries, industrial corporations traditionally account for a significant percentage of private sector industries. These include companies that manufacture parts as well as those that assemble them into finished products. A number of specific industries fall under the industrial umbrella, including automotive, aeronautics, textiles, pharmaceutics, bioengineering and metal casting. Food refineries and packagers generally fall under the industrial category because of the types of facilities necessary for production.
Commercial private sector industries are additionally subdivided in two ways. The first is how they sell their product. Commercial industries who sell goods to the general public are called retailers. This includes traditional outlets such as grocery stores, specialty shops, department stores and drug stores, but also includes online outlets such as online clothing stores or online book sellers.
Some commercial private sector industries buy from manufacturers and sell to retailers. These corporations are called wholesalers. Not all commercial industries involve wholesalers. In some cases, the retailer can buy directly from the manufacturer. Industries that commonly use wholesalers include manufactured florals, office supplies and home goods.
The second way to divide the commercial segment is by the type of product the business sells. Companies that sell tangible items sell goods. This can be anything from a computer program to a car to a pair of shoes. Other commercial companies sell services, such as house cleaning, accounting or automotive repair. In some cases, the business may sell both goods and services.
Agricultural businesses are the subset of private sector industries that grow or raise product. This generally refers to all farms, be it a small family farm or a multi-national growing conglomerate. Products include meats, grains and vegetables.
The three main types of private sector industries often work together to provide consumers with a product. For example, a farmer, whose farm is an agricultural business, might grow green beans. He then sells those to a food packaging company, who is part of the industrial segment. That company processes and packages the beans. The packager then sells the resulting can of green beans to a grocery store which, as a commercial retailer, sells the can to a consumer.