What Is Gross Margin? Everything You Need To Know

Farwah Jafri | September 15 2023

Gross margin is an essential indicator of a company’s ability to produce goods or services efficiently while generating a profit. It stands as one of the three major profitability indicators, alongside the operating and net profit margins. Arguably, the gross profit margin holds the highest significance among these three metrics, as a low gross profit margin can undermine the viability of your business over time.  

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In this blog, we will talk about what is gross margin formula, its examples, interpretations and how it holds significance in the finance industry.  

What is Gross Margin? What is its significance? 

The Gross Profit Margin, a vital financial metric, reveals what remains in your business after covering the immediate expenses of operations, such as labor, materials, and direct production costs.  

Gross profit margin holds significance in the finance industry. Gross profit margin is a valuable tool for assessing a company’s financial health, its true power emerges when used to monitor its performance over time or to make comparisons within the same industry. The gross profit margin ratio informs you whether your business aligns with industry standards and provides a target to surpass the industry average.  

How to Enhance Your Gross Profit Margin

1. Consider Pricing Adjustments

While increasing prices is a straightforward solution, it may only sometimes be the most suitable strategy, especially for businesses operating in highly competitive or low-margin sectors such as retail, food service, or warehousing. 

If factors like rising production costs, freight expenses, or raw material prices affect your bottom line, you have two primary options. One, you can raise prices to offset these increased costs. Alternatively, you can focus on optimizing your operational processes to reduce your overall cost of sales.  

2. Enhance Operational Efficiency

When passing on increased costs to consumers is not feasible, it becomes imperative to seek operational efficiencies within your organization. It may involve streamlining labor costs, investing in improved machinery and equipment, or combining both.  

For example, if you’re in the business of manufacturing aluminum cans, you may not have control over aluminum prices. In such cases, responding to price fluctuations may necessitate passing costs on to your customers. However, you can explore opportunities for automation or advanced machinery that can replace direct labor or production expenses, helping to mitigate the impact on your margins.  

3. Gross Profit Margin and Start-ups

Start-up ventures typically experience lower gross profit margins compared to established companies, mainly due to the absence of efficiency and optimization that mature businesses have developed over time. Conversely, some start-ups, especially sole proprietorships, might achieve above-average gross profit margins by not fully compensating themselves for their labor, effectively subsidizing their business.  

Beniston emphasizes that entrepreneurs often undervalue their time and do not factor it into their gross margin calculations. Nevertheless, even if they choose not to draw a salary, budding entrepreneurs should account for their working hours to provide a more accurate assessment of their gross profit margin.  

4. Understanding the Gross Profit Margin Ratio’s Limits

While the gross profit margin ratio is a valuable metric for evaluating your business’s profitability, it has limitations. It provides insights into the efficiency of your core operations and the margin left after the direct costs of goods sold. However, it does not offer a comprehensive view of your business’s financial health.  

Example of Gross Margin:

To understand better the concept of gross margin, let’s understand through example.  

Here’s an example of how to calculate and interpret gross profit margin:  

Let’s consider a fictional company called “ABC Electronics,” which manufactures and sells smartphones.     

1. Determine the key financial figures: 

  – Total Revenue (Sales): $1,000,000  

  – Cost of Goods Sold (COGS): $600,000  

2. Calculate Gross Profit: 

  Gross Profit = Total Revenue – COGS  

  Gross Profit = $1,000,000 – $600,000  

  Gross Profit = $400,000  

3. Calculate Gross Profit Margin: 

  Gross Profit Margin (%) = (Gross Profit / Total Revenue) * 100  

  Gross Profit Margin (%) = ($400,000 / $1,000,000) * 100  

  Gross Profit Margin (%) = 40%  

In this example:  

– The gross profit for ABC Electronics is $400,000.  

– The gross profit margin is 40%. 


ABC Electronics has a gross profit margin of 40%. It means that for every dollar in revenue generated from selling smartphones, the company retains $0.40 as profit after covering the cost of manufacturing those phones. A higher gross profit margin indicates that the company is more efficient at producing its goods or services and is generally considered a positive sign by investors and stakeholders. However, the interpretation of a good or bad gross profit margin can vary depending on the industry and business model. 


Gross profit margin is a financial metric that measures a company’s profitability by assessing the percentage of revenue after deducting the cost of goods sold (COGS). It’s an essential indicator of a company’s ability to produce goods or services efficiently while generating a profit.

Simplify your business finances with Monily’s accounting and financial solutions. Contact our team of experienced professionals now for personalized assistance or book a complimentary consultation today. 

Also Read: What Is Marginal Cost, Its Formula, And How To Calculate It?

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Author Bio

Farwah is the Product Owner of Monily. She has an MBA from Alliance Manchester Business School, UK. She is passionate about helping businesses overcome challenges that hamper their growth, which is why she is working at Monily to facilitate entrepreneurs to efficiently manage business finances and stay focused on growth.