Definition, Examples, Pros & Cons in Business

What Is Fragmentation?

The time period fragmentation refers to a provide chain that’s damaged up into completely different components. Corporations unfold the manufacturing course of throughout completely different suppliers and producers once they fragment. As such, corporations use separate suppliers and element producers to supply their items and companies.

These entities are sometimes in several international locations, particularly the place labor is plentiful and cheap. This enables corporations to supply items extra cost-effectively. Fragmentation was made attainable by improved know-how and globalization.

Key Takeaways

  • Fragmentation includes the manufacturing of products and companies utilizing separate suppliers and element producers.
  • Corporations usually produce their items and companies in components of the world the place labor is affordable and plentiful, making the method less expensive.
  • Whereas globalization and improved know-how are the principle causes of fragmentation, labor forces, financial circumstances, and rules additionally contribute.
  • Fragmentation can profit growing nations however can result in the exploitation of laborers.
  • Enterprise, market, and business fragmentation are three several types of fragmentation that happen inside the financial system.

Understanding Fragmentation

Fragmentation includes utilizing completely different suppliers and producers within the manufacturing course of. Corporations fragment to scale back manufacturing prices—even when this implies going overseas. Creating nations with low-cost and plentiful labor are frequent areas, reminiscent of these in Asia and Latin America.

Companies that function in developed economies analysis the elements wanted and discover accessible suppliers. They then use the most cost effective websites to supply and assemble the components for his or her completed gadgets. As an illustration, corporations could supply cheaper supplies in a single nation and cheap labor to supply their items in one other whereas the completed product finally ends up being offered in one more nation.

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Globalization and improved know-how paved the way in which for fragmentation, because it turns into more and more cheaper and simpler to supply, ship, and monitor items as they journey from place to position. Fragmentation is frequent within the electronics, transportation, and attire industries.

In 2022, provide chains have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as shoppers noticed shortages of merchandise on cabinets and worth will increase for these merchandise. World suppliers and sources of things reminiscent of laptop chips, espresso, and lithium for electrical automobile batteries have been impacted by the challenges of lockdowns and cargo points.

Free commerce agreements could usually present international locations with duty-free entry to labor and supplies. As an illustration, the USMCA and its predecessor, NAFTA, set this up between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

Particular Concerns

As famous above, globalization and enhancements in know-how are among the many major the reason why fragmentation happens. However different associated causes result in it:

  • A scarcity of unskilled laborers in some developed nations can push corporations to look elsewhere to fill the hole.
  • A slowing financial system and market dynamics could require corporations to chop prices and look elsewhere to select up the slack.
  • Authorities intervention could result in modifications in coverage and regulation, forcing corporations to maneuver manufacturing to areas the place restrictions are looser or do not exist in any respect.

Benefits and Disadvantages of Fragmentation


The obvious good thing about fragmentation is its cost-effectiveness. By going to completely different suppliers and producers, corporations can reduce their prices. This profit might be handed on to the buyer, leading to extra inexpensive items and companies.

Creating nations profit due to the rise in demand for labor and supplies. Native populations acquire employment and could possibly enhance their expertise as corporations seek for supply supplies to supply their items and companies.

All of this helps corporations change into extra worthwhile, which advantages the financial system. When company income rise, corporations make investments extra they usually develop. This usually results in the next:

  • Job development
  • More cash in shoppers’ pockets
  • Rising manufacturing ranges
  • A rise within the demand for services


Whereas the seek for cheaper labor and supplies could also be a boon for supply international locations, it will possibly usually come at a value, particularly in growing nations. In some instances, corporations could find yourself exploiting the native workforce. As an illustration, cheaper labor could imply low wages, lengthy work hours, and unsuitable working circumstances for employees. as well as, workers could not be capable to advance to get extra expertise.

The seek for low-cost labor and supplies usually comes on the expense of the native market. Outsourcing the manufacturing and manufacturing course of takes jobs away from home employees, which implies a rise in unemployment within the firm’s residence nation.

Product high quality might also undergo due to using cheaper labor and supplies. Going overseas to supply items can even result in this downside since legal guidelines and rules differ in several international locations. For instance, some international locations could use gadgets like lead paint within the manufacturing of their items and companies whereas others not use them.


  • Value discount helps corporations and could also be handed on to shoppers.

  • Employment boosts in growing nations

  • Rise in company income, which advantages the financial system


  • Exploitation of native workforce

  • Outsourcing leads unemployment within the firm’s residence nation.

  • Drop in high quality of products and companies

Kinds of Fragmentation

Enterprise Fragmentation

When a enterprise turns into fragmented, sure facets of its construction change into separated. This contains company management, processes, procedures, infrastructure, and enterprise location. In lots of instances, enterprise fragmentation could result in inefficiencies and even losses.

Market Fragmentation

This type of fragmentation might also be known as market segmentation. It happens when market individuals are separated or segmented into completely different teams primarily based on their wants—notably shoppers. This enables corporations to establish and goal sure developments primarily based on how people eat items and companies, thereby growing efficiencies and income. Markets might be fragmented primarily based on conduct, demographics, or geography.

Trade Fragmentation

Fragmentation occurs when there isn’t any clear chief inside an business. This implies whereas many corporations could function in a selected business, none of them have sufficient market share to affect costs, manufacturing, funding, and competitors. Profitability is not an issue when industries are fragmented. As a substitute, it simply implies that new entrants into the market have few boundaries forward of them.

Instance of Fragmentation

The airline business is one which skilled an excessive amount of fragmentation. Not solely does the metallic must be acquired however bigger gadgets, reminiscent of digital techniques, should even be assembled. Corporations usually supply these supplies along with labor in international locations the place they’re cheaper.

As an illustration, an airplane could have the next:

  • Its wings manufactured in Germany with metals from Africa
  • Its electronics have been created in Japan with chips made in China
  • Glass in China
  • Seats assembled in Mexico with textiles and thread from India

Suppliers and producers ship the elements to the US the place they’re put collectively and offered as the ultimate product.

What Is Media Fragmentation?

Media fragmentation includes the division of media retailers, giving shoppers extra selection in the kind of content material they obtain. As an illustration, the business is damaged up primarily based on the right track audiences, reminiscent of conservative viewership, left-leaning shoppers, adolescents, individuals who take pleasure in vogue, and sports activities fanatics amongst others.

The business is additional fragmented by how shoppers obtain their info, from tv and radio to newspapers and digital sources.

An business that’s far too fragmented can usually be problematic as retailers could discover it troublesome to achieve their goal audiences.

What Is Habitat Fragmentation?

Habitat fragmentation takes place when giant areas of liveable land are damaged up and segmented or destroyed. It’s most frequently associated to land improvement by people and pure forces (land erosion, local weather change, pure disasters). This may impression the ecosystem, biodiversity, and animal populations.

What Is Fragmentation in Computer systems?

Fragmentation in computer systems includes storing a single file in a number of completely different areas on a tough drive or different storage units. As such, these fragments or items are scattered in several areas. This usually happens when people create, transfer, make modifications, or delete recordsdata. This sort of fragmentation can result in decrease laptop speeds and a drop in effectivity.

The Backside Line

Fragmentation is a vital a part of the financial system. Whether or not it is attributable to globalization, regulatory modifications, or market forces, the purpose is often to decrease prices and enhance income. However identical to every other story, there are additionally downsides to this course of. Firms must stability their backside strains with issues associated to the potential of exploiting cheap labor and outsourcing whereas guaranteeing shoppers proceed to get the standard of products and companies they arrive to anticipate.