Gross margin

Page written by AI. Reviewed internally on January 30, 2024.


Gross margin, also known as gross profit margin, is a financial metric that measures the profitability of a company’s core operations, specifically its ability to generate revenue after deducting the direct costs associated with producing or providing goods and services.

What is gross margin?

Gross margin is expressed as a percentage and is a critical indicator of a company’s operational efficiency and pricing strategy.

Gross margin is calculated using the following formula:

Gross margin = (revenue – cost of goods sold) x 100%

A higher gross margin percentage indicates that a company is able to retain a larger portion of its revenue after accounting for the costs directly associated with production. This suggests strong operational efficiency. On the other hand, a lower gross margin may indicate higher production costs relative to revenue, which can potentially impact profitability.

Factors impacting gross margin:

  1. Pricing strategy: Higher prices can lead to increased gross margin if it doesn’t significantly impact sales volume.
  2. Cost efficiency: Efficient procurement, production, and inventory management can help reduce cost of goods sold, positively affecting gross margin.
  3. Economies of scale: Larger production volumes can lead to lower per-unit production costs, potentially increasing gross margin.
  4. Quality control: Maintaining high product quality can reduce defects and waste, positively impacting gross margin.

While gross margin provides insight into core operational profitability, it does not account for other operating expenses such as marketing, research and development, and administrative costs.

Example of gross margin

Let’s say Company XYZ is a retail business that sells electronics. In a given quarter, the company has the following financial information:

  • Total revenue: £1,000,000
  • Cost of goods sold (COGS): £600,000

Then we can use the formula for calculating gross margin:

Gross margin

In this example, Company XYZ’s gross margin is 40%. This means that for every dollar of revenue generated, the company retains 40 pence after covering the direct costs associated with producing or purchasing the goods sold.

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