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What is Revenue?

Learn more about revenue

Revenue, also known as turnover, is the total amount of money that a business has taken in over a defined period, such as a year, from the sale of its products or services. 

Key takeaways

  • The standard revenue formula is: net revenue = (quantity sold × unit price) - discounts - allowances - returns.

  • Organisations may distinguish revenue between tangible and intangible products, and services. 

  • Revenue can also be divided into operating revenue, which is sales from the company’s core business and non-operating revenue. 

  • There are several factors that affect revenue, the first is market demand. High demand tends to mean high revenue and low demand could mean a poor revenue result. Below are some other factors that affect revenue. 

Types of revenue

There are many different ways companies can distinguish revenue. One revenue example  could be a company may divide it according to the divisions that generate it. For example, a car manufacturer may classify revenue across different vehicle models or vehicle types (SUV vs truck). 

Organisations may also distinguish revenue between tangible and intangible. For example, Apple (AAPL) may look at revenue from the iPad and Apple watch, which is tangible, as separate from its Apple Music or Apple TV+ revenue, which is intangible. 

Revenue can also be divided into operating revenue, which is sales from the company’s core business and non-operating revenue. 

Formula for calculating revenue

There are also standard ways to calculate net revenue. Some companies do not accept returns, and a retailer may use a different formula than a service company, but the formula below is the one most commonly used is the net revenue is the quantity of items sold, multiplied by the unit price, minus and discounts, allowances and/or returns. 

Net revenue

The first element is the quantity sold, this is then multiplied by the price, for a retailer, this could be the fact they sold 100 shirts in 12 months. Multiplied by the unit price of a shirt which is $10, and then minus any discounts, allowances or returns that have been given on that particular brand of shirt. 

There are some limitations with this formula. The first is that if the company has a diversified product line, the net formula would have to be calculated for each product or service and then added together to get the company’s total revenue.

Factors that affect revenue

There are several factors that affect revenue in economics, the first is market demand. The level of demand for a company’s services or products is an important factor in revenue. High demand tends to mean high revenue and low demand could mean a poor revenue result. 

Below are some other factors that affect revenue:

  1. Competition. Other companies in the same sector can affect your company revenue. Often the more competition, the more difficult it is to generate revenue. 

  2. Pricing. The products and services’ price is also important in determining revenue. If the price is too high, customers may go elsewhere. However, if it is too low, the company may not generate enough revenue to cover costs. 

  3. Marketing and advertising. Effective advertising and marketing can increase a company’s revenue and attract sales from new and existing customers. 

  4. Economic conditions. During times of economic growth, companies may see increased revenue, while in times of economic downturns revenue may decrease. 

  5. Product quality. The quality of a company’s products and services can impact revenue. If the products are of low quality, it can turn customers away, thus decreasing revenue. If the quality is high, this may attract customers to your services/product. 

Examples of revenue

Examples of revenue can be seen in the earning reports released by companies. Let’s take Alphabet (GOOG) financial results for the fourth quarter of 2022. The company’s business segments are:

  • Google Services (adds, Android, Chrome, Hardware, Google Maps, Google Play, Search and YouTube).

  • Google Cloud 

  • Other Bets. 

Q4 2022 financial higlights

As shown above, Alphabet reported revenue of $76.0148bn in Q4 2022. 

Revenue vs profit

Both revenue and profit are financial metrics used to assess and measure the success of a company. However, they represent different aspects of a company’s performance.

  • Profit is the amount of money a company earns after it takes away expenses from its revenue. 

  • Revenue is the total amount of money a company earns from the sale of its products/services. 

How to increase revenue

There are various ways for a company to increase revenue. One of these is to expand its customer base, increasing the number of customers who buy from the business. You can do this through marketing to new customers, while also maintaining your current customers, with loyalty programmes. 

Below are some other ways to raise revenue:

  1. Increase prices. Raising prices can help to increase revenue as long as customers are willing to pay more for your products. 

  2. Cross-sell and upsell. Cross-selling involves selling additional products/services to existing customers. Upselling is encouraging customers to buy more expensive versions of your products and services. 

  3. Streamline. Reducing costs can help increase revenue and improve profitability. So reducing waste and negotiating better supplier contracts are ways to reduce costs and increase profits. 

  4. Expand products/services. Offering new products and services can help attract new customers. It can also help retain existing customers. 

  5. Data. Analysing customer behaviour, sales and marketing campaigns can help identify areas where revenue can be increased and also help you to make informed decisions. 

Conclusion

There are different types of revenue or ways in which companies can distinguish revenue. For example, a company may divide revenue according to the divisions that generate it.

There are several factors that affect revenue, the first is market demand. The level of demand for a company’s services or products is an important factor in revenue. High demand tends to mean high revenue and low demand could mean a poor revenue result. 

Examples of revenue can be seen in the earning reports released by companies. Both revenue and profit are financial metrics used to assess and measure the success of a company. However, they represent different aspects of a company’s performance. 

Profit is the amount of money a company earns after it takes away expenses from its revenue. Revenue is the total amount of money a company earns from the sale of its products/services. 

Increasing revenue can be done via a variety of methods, such as increasing the number of customers who buy from your business is a good way to raise revenue. In addition, raising your prices can help to increase revenue, but customers have to be willing to pay more for your products. 

FAQs

What does revenue in business mean?

Revenue in business relates to the total amount of money a company earns from selling products/services to customers.

Is revenue a income?

Revenue is the total income your company makes from the sale of goods and services.

Are revenue and cash flow the same thing?

No. While revenue and cash flow are both important financial metrics they are different. Cash flow refers to the movement of cash in and out of a business. It is the measure of an organisation's liquidity and ability to generate cash and meet its financial obligations.

What is the difference between revenue and income?

Revenue and income are terms that are sometimes used interchangeably but they are different. 

Revenue is the total money a company earns from its operations by selling products or services to customers and it does not take into account expenses incurred. 

Income relates to the net profit earned by a company after deducting expenses from its revenue. Income includes, not only revenue but any gains or losses from investments, taxes paid and other expenses.

How to calculate revenue?

The standard revenue formula is: net revenue = (quantity sold × unit price) - discounts - allowances - returns

What are the types of revenue?

There are different types of revenue or ways in which companies can distinguish revenue. One example  could be a company dividing revenue according to the divisions that generate it.

Revenue can also be divided into operating revenue, which is sales from the company’s core business and non-operating revenue.

What is revenue in simple terms?

Revenue is the money a company receives from the sale of its products/services, before expenses are deducted.

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