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Economies of Scope


Economies of scope refer to the efficiency gains that result from producing a variety of related goods or services within a single company or operation. This is achieved by leveraging shared resources, knowledge, and infrastructure across different product lines. In essence, the cost of production decreases as a company diversifies its product offerings.


The phonetic pronunciation of “Economies of Scope” is:ɪˈkɒnəmiz əv skoʊp

Key Takeaways

  1. Economies of scope refer to a cost advantage that arises when a company expands its production of multiple goods or services, benefiting from shared resources and capabilities.
  2. These advantages can result in lower average total costs per unit, increased efficiency, and improved competitiveness for the company. Achieving economies of scope often involves making strategic decisions to invest in complementary goods or services, merge or collaborate with other businesses, or develop new areas of expertise.
  3. The concept is different from economies of scale, as the latter focuses on the cost reduction benefits of producing a single good or service on a larger scale, while economies of scope are about the benefits of producing multiple goods or services together within a single organization.


Economies of Scope is an important concept in business and finance as it highlights the cost advantages that arise when companies produce a wider variety of goods or services together rather than individually. This concept emphasizes the benefits of resource and cost-sharing, such as utilizing shared marketing, production, and distribution for multiple products or services. By achieving economies of scope, businesses can enhance their competitiveness, efficiency, and profitability by tapping into synergies, diversifying their offerings, and reducing overall costs, ultimately leading to optimized business performance and increased shareholder value.


Economies of Scope is a strategic concept leveraged by businesses to achieve higher operational efficiency and reduce the overall costs of production. Its purpose is to capitalize on the synergies and shared resources across various product lines or services within the company. This approach allows for spreading the fixed costs across multiple products, which can lead to lower average costs per unit and higher margins. Economies of Scope serves as a rationale for businesses to consider diversification and expanding their operations into new sectors, as well as for mergers and acquisitions, where combining complementary resources can lead to cost savings, increased revenues, and a competitive advantage.

In practice, Economies of Scope can manifest in various forms, such as the sharing of expertise, technology, marketing, and distribution channels. By pooling these resources, businesses can streamline their operations, eliminate redundancies, and deliver a broad array of products without incurring the full cost of creating and offering each product individually. For instance, a technology firm that manufactures smartphones might branch into producing tablets, benefiting from the shared resources such as research and development, machinery, and supply chain. The efficiency gains help the company to maintain or even enhance the quality of its products while achieving cost savings, making it more competitive in the market. In summary, Economies of Scope serves as a means to drive operational optimization and pursue a growth strategy that benefits both businesses and their customers.


1. Automobile Industry: Many automobile companies such as General Motors, Toyota, and Volkswagen utilize economies of scope by producing different models and types of vehicles, like trucks, SUVs, sedans, or electric cars under the same brand name. They leverage their existing resources, such as manufacturing facilities, distribution networks, and marketing, to produce these different types of vehicles, thereby saving on costs and increasing profitability.

2. Fast-food Chains: Businesses such as McDonald’s, Subway, and Burger King exploit economies of scope by offering a wide variety of products (burgers, fries, salads, beverages) instead of just specializing in one product. They use the same workforce, kitchen equipment, and supply chains to produce these different products, reducing cost per unit.

3. Media Companies: Corporations like Disney make use of economies of scope by using characters or stories across different media platforms. For instance, Disney can produce a movie with certain characters, then use the same characters for merchandise, theme park attractions, TV shows, online content, and more. Such a spread across different verticals lowers average total costs and enhances profitability.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What are Economies of Scope?

Economies of Scope refer to the economic concept where the cost per unit of output decreases as a result of producing a wider variety of goods or services. The cost advantages come from the shared use of inputs across product lines.

How do Economies of Scope differ from Economies of Scale?

While both terms describe cost advantages, they represent different scenarios. Economies of Scale occur when cost per unit decreases as output increases due to the spread of production costs. On the other hand, Economies of Scope occur when cost per unit decreases due to the simultaneous production of multiple products.

What are some examples of Economies of Scope?

Common examples include conglomerate corporations, such as Procter & Gamble, which produces a diverse range of products, or fast-food chains like McDonald’s, which gets to share their advertising or supply costs over a range of different products.

How can a company achieve Economies of Scope?

A company can achieve Economies of Scope by diversifying product lines, collaborative partnerships, mergers or acquisitions, wherein the combined company can share resources (like production facilities or distribution networks) across multiple product lines.

What are the advantages of Economies of Scope?

Economies of Scope can lead to lower production costs, higher operational efficiency, improved cost competitiveness, increased market diversity, and it can be a source of competitive advantage over rivals.

Are there any drawbacks to Economies of Scope?

Yes, potential drawbacks include the risk of over-diversification, reduced focus on key product lines, complications in management due to a variety of products, and potential decrease in quality due to spreading resources too thinly.

Can small businesses benefit from Economies of Scope?

Absolutely. Even on a smaller scale, businesses can experience advantages by sharing resources, such as marketing efforts or supply chains, across different products or services they offer.

Related Finance Terms

  • Product Diversification
  • Cost Efficiency
  • Operational Synergy
  • Multi-Product Production
  • Scale Advantage

Sources for More Information

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