Difference between Contribution Margin and Gross Margin


Financial backers and even organisation leaders might confuse gross profit or margin with contribution margin now and then. That is a mistaken supposition or assumption. The gross profit for an organisation isn’t equivalent to the organisation’s contribution margin.

The critical contrast between gross margin and contribution margin is that gross profit measures and the formula are utilised to know the monetary wellbeing and the performance of the organisation and is determined by partitioning or dividing the gross profit of the by its net sales. Though contribution margin is the distinction between total sales made by the organisation and its total variable expense, which helps in estimating how effectively the organisation is taking care of its manufacturing process and keeping up with the low levels of the variable expenses.

Meaning of Contribution Margin:

Contribution margin is the goods’ sale price or value subtracted from the variable expense per item. The contribution margin considers the singular benefit of every item. Just variable costs are utilised to compute contribution margin also not fixed expenses, which are related to the production or manufacturing. Contribution margin likewise helps in examining the breakeven point on sales, that is, the place where a company can create benefits. The higher or greater the contribution margin, the more rapidly a business can create benefits as a more prominent measure of sale of every item goes towards the inclusion of fixed expenses or fixed costs.

Fixed expenses or fixed costs continue as before, independent of the sale quantities of the organisation; for instance, fixed salaries of the workers and employees, taxes, and building rent. Variable expenses, in any case, are directly corresponding to sales. It increments when sales rise and vice versa. Instances of variable expenses are sales commissions, which are straightforwardly connected to deal volume.

In simple terms, gross profit lays out the general benefit of an organisation, and the contribution margin shows the net benefit contribution of a given item or a group of items presented by the organisation. Gross margin is a group or blanket term, while contribution margin is individual depictions. Contribution margin is determined by first laying out the income received from the sales of a specific product or good, next deducting from that figure all immediate manufacturing costs or production costs related with that equivalent thing, then, at that point, dividing the outcome by the income figure.

Contribution margin = (income or revenue from sales of a product – creation or manufacturing costs for the product ) ÷ income or revenue from sales of the product.

Meaning of Gross Margin:

Gross margin is inseparable from net revenue or gross profit margin and incorporates just the revenue or income and direct manufacturing costs. It does exclude working costs like marketing costs, sales, and other expenses, for example, taxes or credit interest. Gross margin would incorporate an industrial facility’s direct material cost and direct labour costs, yet exclude the administration expenses for working or operating costs of the corporate office.

Direct manufacturing costs are called the cost of goods sold (COGS). This is the expense to manufacture products and services that an organisation sells. The gross margin shows how well an organisation produces income or revenue from direct expenses, for example, direct materials costs and direct labour. Gross margin is determined by deducting the cost of goods sold from income or revenue and separating the outcome by income or revenue. The outcome can be multiplied by 100 to create a percentage.

In simple terms, gross profit margin, likewise called ‘gross margin’, is a general or overall proportion or an overall measure of the complete benefit on sales that an organisation makes in the wake of taking away just those costs straightforwardly connected with creation. In that capacity, it doesn’t show the organisation’s general or overall benefit. All things being equal, it lays out the connection between creation expenses and complete sales income. The gross margin shows up on an organisation’s income statement as the contrast between revenue earned from sales and the cost of goods sold.

Gross profit margin = total sales revenue – total direct cost of goods sold.

Difference between Contribution Margin and Gross Margin:




It is the business’s sales value less the total factor or variable costs, where direct expenses incorporate labour, overheads, and material.

It is the business’s sales subtracted from the expense of products sold.


Contribution margin = (Sales – Variable Costs) / Sales

Gross margin = (Revenue – Cost of Goods Sold) / Revenue

With Respect to Profitability Metrics

It is utilised for examining the per-product benefit or profit metric.

It is valuable for investigating the complete benefit metric or total profit metric.

Contemplation of Fixed Cost and Variable Cost

It incorporates just variable costs during the computation.

It incorporates both fixed and variable expenses related to the creation of the products during the computation.


It is helpful for a considerable length of time investigation or multiple scenario analysis.

It is utilised for chronicled estimations or historical calculations, or projections with explicit sales values.


It is utilised for determining pricing decisions. A low or negative contribution margin shows that the product offering may not be beneficial.

It shows whether the sales are to the point of taking care of the expenses of creation.


Both the gross margins and the contribution margins are significant productivity proportions or profitability ratios. The proportions permit us to settle on choices to build benefit by investigating various factors, such as picking the best product offering to put resources into, examining the marketing and advertising effort, which was generally beneficial, and enhancement of the item cost. The gross margin demonstrates the productivity of the organisation, though the contribution margin shows the benefit contributed by every product of the organisation.

Organisations with high net benefits have the edge over their different rivals in the business. Also, organisations with a high contribution margin can take care of the expense of delivering the merchandise yet leave a margin of benefit. Yet, contribution margin ought to be thought about across as it to a great extent relies upon the sort of industry as certain enterprises might have more fixed expenses to cover than the others.

Also, see:

Difference Between Fixed Capital and Working Capital

Difference Between Stock and Flow

Difference Between Production Management and Operation Management

Difference Between Capital Reserve and Revenue Reserve

Difference Between Comparative Financial Statement and Common Size Financial Statement

Difference Between Implicit Cost and Opportunity Cost

Mcqs on Production Planning and Control

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