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Economies of Scale vs. Economies of Scope: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on November 11, 2023
Economies of Scale refer to cost savings as production volume increases, while Economies of Scope pertain to cost savings from producing diverse products or services together.

Key Differences

Economies of Scale focus on the efficiencies a firm can achieve by increasing the volume of a single product. As production grows, unit costs typically decrease. Economies of Scope, however, center on the efficiencies obtained by producing multiple related products or services together, leading to shared costs.
Economies of Scale are often observed in industries with high capital costs, where spreading these costs over a larger volume of products reduces the cost per unit. Economies of Scope are more evident in diversified firms that can leverage shared resources across different products or services.
Achieving Economies of Scale generally involves scaling up production processes, standardizing operations, or investing in larger production facilities. Conversely, attaining Economies of Scope may require diversifying product lines, cross-selling, or leveraging synergies between different offerings.
The benefit of Economies of Scale is a decline in the average cost per unit with increased production. In contrast, the advantage of Economies of Scope is a reduction in the total cost when producing two or more products together rather than separately.
While Economies of Scale result from operational efficiencies within a single product line, Economies of Scope arise from strategic efficiencies across multiple product lines.

Comparison Chart


Cost savings from increased production volume
Cost savings from producing diverse products together


Single product line
Multiple product lines

Achieved By

Scaling up production
Leveraging shared resources

Resulting Benefit

Lower unit cost with increased production
Lower total cost from combined production

Typical Industries

High capital cost industries like manufacturing
Diversified firms in sectors like conglomerates

Economies of Scale and Economies of Scope Definitions

Economies of Scale

Cost advantages achieved with increased production of a single item.
Large factories often realize Economies of Scale as they produce more units, reducing the cost per unit.

Economies of Scope

Cost efficiencies from producing multiple products using the same resources.
Conglomerates often benefit from Economies of Scope by leveraging shared infrastructures for different businesses.

Economies of Scale

The advantage gained from an expanded level of production.
Mega-retailers like Walmart capitalize on Economies of Scale to offer competitive pricing

Economies of Scope

The phenomenon of reduced costs from combined production of related products.
Media companies might find Economies of Scope by producing TV shows and movies side by side.

Economies of Scale

Savings that arise from producing on a larger scale.
Bulk buying of raw materials allows for Economies of Scale in many industries.

Economies of Scope

Cost benefits derived from the breadth of products rather than volume.
A car manufacturer can gain Economies of Scope by using similar technologies across different car models.

Economies of Scale

The phenomenon where unit costs fall as the volume of production rises.
Big tech companies benefit from Economies of Scale due to mass production.

Economies of Scope

Advantages from leveraging synergies among varied products.
Food companies often achieve Economies of Scope by utilizing the same distribution channels for multiple products.

Economies of Scale

Efficiencies realized when fixed costs are spread over more units.
Large shipping companies achieve Economies of Scale by operating massive cargo ships.

Economies of Scope

Savings achieved when diverse products are produced together.
A factory producing both phones and tablets might realize Economies of Scope by sharing components.


How is Economies of Scope defined?

Economies of Scope are the cost efficiencies achieved when producing multiple related products using shared resources.

Can a business experience diminishing Economies of Scale?

Yes, after a certain point, increasing production might lead to inefficiencies and increased unit costs.

What is Economies of Scale?

It refers to the cost advantages realized when production volume increases, leading to reduced unit costs.

How do diversified companies benefit from Economies of Scope?

They can leverage shared resources, such as marketing or distribution channels, across multiple product lines, leading to cost savings.

How do mergers and acquisitions relate to Economies of Scope?

M&As can lead to Economies of Scope by allowing companies to share resources and capabilities across varied business units.

Do Economies of Scale only benefit large companies?

While typically more prominent in large companies, small businesses can also achieve them through methods like bulk purchasing.

Can technology lead to Economies of Scope?

Yes. Technological integration can allow companies to produce diverse services or products with shared infrastructures.

Is mass production always synonymous with Economies of Scale?

Often, but not always. Mass production typically leads to reduced unit costs, but other factors can impact overall economies.

Is there a limit to achieving Economies of Scale?

Yes, beyond a certain point, further scaling might lead to diseconomies of scale, increasing per unit costs.

Are Economies of Scale a long-term phenomenon?

They can be, but businesses must constantly innovate and optimize to maintain or further realize these economies.

Can Economies of Scope lead to a competitive advantage?

Absolutely. By efficiently producing a range of products, firms can offer better pricing or value propositions.

Are Economies of Scale relevant in the service industry?

Absolutely. For instance, a larger hotel chain might achieve reduced costs per room due to standardized processes.

In what sectors are Economies of Scope most prevalent?

Commonly seen in conglomerates, media, and tech industries, where shared resources can be leveraged across varied products or services.

How do shared services relate to Economies of Scope?

Shared services allow multiple business units to utilize a common service, leading to cost efficiencies and Economies of Scope.

Is achieving Economies of Scale always beneficial?

While it can lead to cost advantages, over-reliance without innovation can make firms vulnerable to competition and market changes.

Do digital businesses benefit from Economies of Scale?

Yes, digital platforms, especially, can serve increased users with minimal incremental costs, leading to strong Economies of Scale.

Can outsourcing lead to Economies of Scale?

Yes, firms can achieve cost reductions by outsourcing certain processes to larger specialized providers.

How do market dynamics affect Economies of Scope?

Market demand, competition, and technological shifts can influence the viability and effectiveness of producing multiple products together.

Can Economies of Scope lead to product diversification?

Yes, realizing potential synergies and cost savings might encourage firms to diversify their offerings.

How does product bundling relate to Economies of Scope?

Bundling allows companies to sell diverse products together, often at reduced combined costs, leveraging Economies of Scope.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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