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What Is Industrial Diversification?

Malcolm Tatum
By
Updated May 16, 2024
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Industrial diversification is a strategy that involves choosing to structure a company operation in a manner that promotes involvement in a wide range of revenue producing activities. An approach of this type may have to do with the production of goods and services associated with the business, or may focus more on how the company chooses to arrange its investment portfolio. The goal of any type of industrial diversification is increase the chances of returns by diversifying or spreading assets over a wider range of activities, while also helping to minimize the potential for failure or loss.

As it relates to production operations, industrial diversification has to do with providing goods and services that appeal to multiple markets rather than focusing on a product line that appeals to mainly one market. For example, a company may operate plant facilities that produce clothing items at one location, while also manufacturing bedding and other types of household textiles at another. At times, the diversification may involve completely unrelated products, such as a company that produces a line of office supplies but also has a division focused on the production of televisions and other electrical entertainment devices. The degree of industrial diversification will often be influenced by what owners believe will provide the best possible protection from declines in one market by enjoying corresponding increases in demand in another market.

Industrial diversification may also be employed when choosing assets for a corporate investment portfolio. In this scenario, the portfolio manager will seek to not only vary the type of holdings included in the investments, but also the range of variety within those sub-groups of holdings. This means that if the goal is to make sure the portfolio uses stock holdings to make up 50% of the total investments, he or she may allocate 10% to retail stocks, 20% to computer stocks, and another 20% to stocks associated with entertainment companies. The remaining assets in the portfolio may include several different kinds of bond issues, commercial real estate, and possibly even some commodities.

With either application, the idea behind industrial diversification is to increase the stability of the company by making it possible to enjoy revenue from more than one particular source. With a diversified line of products, the company stands a better chance of surviving if a slump in demand for its household appliances is offset by increased sales for its line of canned goods. In like manner, using industrial diversification to add variety to the corporate investment portfolio means that if stocks associated with a given industry undergo a slump, there’s a good chance that increases in the value of the other holdings will cover that loss and make it possible to still enjoy a net increase in returns.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including SmartCapitalMind, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By SarahGen — On Jul 04, 2014

Anyone who invests in a sector should consider diversifying their investment across multiple sectors. Because if things are looking down in one sector and all of your money is invested in it, you will lose everything. But if you have investments in many sectors, you will survive economic crises that affect one or two investments.

By serenesurface — On Jul 04, 2014

@literally45-- That may happen, but I don't think it's a common issue.

Industrial diversification is a company's way of reducing risk. And I don't think that a company that has diversified produces goods of lower quality. Diversification doesn't say anything about the capability of a company to manufacture good products. It just means that they are expanding their business, developing expertise in a wide range of goods and are securing their place in the market.

By literally45 — On Jul 03, 2014

Doesn't industrial diversification have negative effects on sales because of consumer attitudes?

I mean, I don't think I would want to purchase electronics from the same company that produces marshmallows. It's an extreme example, but one gets the point. I think that too much diversification can cause consumers to lose trust in the company or the brand. Or consumers may doubt the quality of the products since they are so diverse and unrelated.

Does anyone agree with me?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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