What is the light industry?

We explain what light industry is, where it is located, its characteristics and light industry examples. In addition, differences with heavy industry.

What is the light industry?

The light industry or consumer goods industry covers those activities that produce goods destined for the final consumer . It differs from other industrial activities such as obtaining raw material and heavy industry , which produces other types of goods.

Unlike the heavy ones, light industries are economic activities that involve lower energy consumption , lower proportions of processed or semi-processed materials and also a much lower environmental impact . Therefore, they can develop within cities and even around residential areas, which does not usually occur with heavy ones.

The most important light industries are usually those of:

  • Food and beverages .
  • Footwear, textiles and clothing .
  • Snuff .
  • Books, magazines and newspaper .
  • Medicines .
  • Cosmetics .
  • Electronics

Characteristics of the light industry

Unlike the heavy industry, the light industry produces consumer items , that is, products that go directly to its final consumer through the marketing chain. For this reason they are included in the secondary sector of society and the productive chain, since their products are usually consumed at a fast and constant pace.

Obviously, this type of industry is much less intensive than the heavy industry. Therefore, it requires relatively small amounts of capital, labor and materials , the latter being rarely any type of raw raw material.

Light industry examples

light carpentry industry
The light industry includes the manufacture of everyday items.

Some examples of light industries are:

  • The manufacturing industries of electronic devices , such as cell phones, remote controls, cameras, computers, etc.
  • The food industries , which produce canned, packaged and bottled beverages or in “tetra-brick”.
  • The automotive industry or manufacturing vehicle parts.
  • The printers .
  • The woodwork , furniture factories and plumbing parts.

List of light industries

The following list includes a variety of products that are considered part of the light industry:

1. Food
2. Clothes
3. Alcoholic beverages
4. Musical instruments
5. Paper
6. Cell phones
7. Kitchen items
8. Shoes
9. Chemical products
10. Furniture
11. Cigarettes
12. Fertilizers
13. Computer products
14. Medications
15. Soda
16. Detergents
17. Appliances
18. Automobiles
19. Fabrics
20. Leather armchairs

Main countries with light industry

Light industry is much more democratically distributed in the world than heavy industry . Countries as economically, socially and politically as Brazil, Guatemala, Canada, Peru, Argentina, the United States or Japan are manufacturing powers in various areas, which can tend to technology, textiles, beverages and food.

Many of its products, however, are consumed in its internal market. Therefore, only the large producers of each item can devote themselves to flooding external markets with their merchandise, through exportation.

Heavy industry

Unlike the light industry, dedicated entirely to the consumer, the heavy industry deals with the transformation of the raw material into products that will then be used by other industries . It can be dedicated to the manufacture of semi-finished materials or machinery.

In some cases, these industries include direct extraction from the environment , and in other cases they obtain the raw material from the extractive industries. For example, a metallurgical company dedicated to the manufacture of machinery can buy metal from another company or even import it from another country.

Heavy industry is indispensable to offer inputs to other subsequent industrial processes. For that reason they are located in the primary sector of the productive chain and are often called “basic industries”, since they are at the base of the economy.

However, this type of industry is generally accompanied by a tremendous environmental impact , which is why it is not usually tolerated in residential areas or even within cities. That is why they are usually located directly at the source of the exploited resource, and in any case away from any vulnerable population.

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