Pure Play

6 mins read
by Angel One

Stock markets function due to the difference in mindset. For continuous buying and selling to take place, a set of people need to be bearish on a stock, while others need to be bullish at the same time. The difference in the thought process defines everything in the markets. There are various strategies to cater to a wide variety of people. Some people believe in buying at the right valuation, while others focus on the growth potential. Similarly, there are various kinds of listed companies. Some companies have multiple distinct businesses. On the other hand, some companies operate in a single field. The second type of companies are known as pure-play companies.

What is pure play?

A broader pure-play definition would be companies that do not operate different businesses and have a singular focus on a single sector. Most companies operate in multiple sectors and have a diversified revenue model. The overall revenue numbers include a large number of smaller revenue streams. For instance, some telecom companies also have a media vertical and a television segment. Though telecommunication services are the source of the bulk of revenues, media and television services too contribute a significant share.

Pure play companies are diametrically opposite. Rather than operating in multiple sectors, they focus on offering one product or service. The rationale behind operating in a single segment is to build a world-class product or service and become a dominant player in the sector. Many pure-play companies are market leaders. Even if not the leader, pure-play companies generally are the dominant players in the market they operate. There are several quick-service chain operators in India that are pure-play stocks as they derive their entire sales from operating fast food outlets.

Pure Play Company Examples

Pure Play companies concentrate all their resources and efforts on a single business line. Unlike diversified organisations, pure play companies have a single source of revenue. The stocks of these companies exhibit a high correlation to the performance of their sector and industry. Many e-commerce companies, electronic retailers, or e-retailers are pure play businesses. These companies will be negatively impacted if interest in their products declines or if there is a general shift in consumer mindset away from electronic shopping. 

Netflix is an example of a pure play company that operates exclusively in the streaming and entertainment industries.

Netflix has achieved significant success in establishing itself as a leader in the domain. But their business is highly concentrated in a single sector. Pure play companies often have deep knowledge of their niche, allowing them to innovate and offer customised product solutions to their target audience. However, unlike diversified organisations, pure play companies don’t have revenue earnings from multiple sources to offer a cushion if one line of business performs poorly at some point.    

Starbucks and Dunkin Brands Group are also examples of pure play businesses. 

Since the company concentrates only on one commodity, it is relatively easier to acquire a clear picture of the company compared to a multi-industry corporation.  

Things to Consider Before Investing in A Pure Play Company

Let’s understand the factors to consider while investing in a pure play company.

Industry volatility: Pure play companies are exposed to the performance and volatility of the sector. Before investing, evaluate the company’s growth potential, competitive landscape, and regulatory risks.

Market share: Dominant market position indicates competitive advantages and potential for growth for pure play companies. Since it is a single product company, a significant market share is crucial for its sustainability.  

Diversification: Pure play companies don’t diversify into multiple sectors, which increases their risk and volatility. Such companies must adapt and innovate to withstand potential downturns.  

Management and team: While exploring pure play companies, it is important to evaluate the management team’s experience, track record, and industry expertise.

Competitive advantage: Evaluate the company’s unique value proposition, intellectual property and other competitive advantages.  

Financial strength: Analysing the company’s financial health, including revenue growth, profitability, cash flow, and debt levels, will empower you to make an informed decision. Consider the company’s ability to invest in research, innovation, and expansion. 

Long-term growth potential: When assessing a company, evaluate its long-term growth prospects, potential market size, and expansion opportunities. Assess the scalability of the business model and its ability to adjust to changing market conditions. 

Is pure play strategy good?

Diversification is a much-repeated mantra of the stock markets but investing in pure-play stocks may limit diversification. However, investing in pure-play stocks may not be as risky as it sounds. Pure play stocks have their strengths.

  • Best-in-class products: Pure play companies tend to produce best-in-class products as the entire financial as well as managerial capital is invested in developing and selling a single product or service. There have been many pure-play companies that have excelled to the extent of revolutionising the entire industry.
  • Easy to analyze: Investing requires a thorough analysis of the prospects of the company. Companies with multiple revenue streams operating in a wide variety of sectors are relatively difficult to analyze. An investor has to understand different markets and make an informed prediction of the company’s prospects in those markets. Analyzing pure-play stocks is relatively simpler. Pure play companies have a single product or service and hence it is easier to analyze the market and make an assessment of the company’s prospects.
  • Industry correlation: Pure play stocks are heavily correlated to the broader industry. Pure play companies have only products in the market and are generally the dominant player in the industry. It results in high growth when the broader sector witnesses an uptick. For instance, if you are selling only burgers, the stock price will definitely rise when the demand for casual dining increases.

Is pure play strategy foolproof?

Investing in pure-play stocks could be beneficial, but is pure-play strategy always going to be a winning bet? Though pure-play stocks have their advantages, they do have certain limitations.

  • A competitor becoming dominant: Due to a singular focus on a product or service, pure-play stocks are often at the top of the chain. However, it doesn’t guarantee dominance forever. Many pure-play companies have fallen by the wayside after a competitor took the lead. Pure play companies thrive on market dominance and when a competitor takes the lead, they witness a gradual decline.
  • Industry correlation: While industry correlation can be advantageous, it can also have unintended consequences. A broader slowdown in the industry affects pure-play stocks deeply. For instance, if the demand for oil and gas falls, pure-play energy stocks will bear the brunt in the absence of a diversified revenue stream.


Pure play strategy can lead to substantial returns, but an investor should take into consideration both the advantages and disadvantages. While zeroing in on a pure-play stock, look at factors like intellectual property, commercialised products, and growth prospects.


What is pure play company?

Pure play companies operate exclusively in a specific industry or market segment, without diversifying into other areas. They focus solely on one product, service, or niche, without or with little vertical integration.

What are the benefits of investing in pure play companies?

These are the advantages of investing in a pure play company:

  • Easy analysis of the firm’s performance because they have a defined focus.
  • Potential for higher returns as these companies are deeply immersed in the industry and can benefit from market trends. 
  • Align investment with values and offer better transparency.

What are the risks of investing in pure play companies?

Pure play companies are exposed to higher industry-specific risks. Their performances are deeply affected by industry slowdowns, regulatory changes, or increased competition. Before investing, investors should analyse the potential volatility and risks associated with pure play investing.

How can investors assess the performance of pure play companies?

Investors can evaluate the performance of a pure play company based on industry dynamics, market size, revenue and profit growth, and competition. By analysing a company’s ability to adapt to changes and capitalise on industry trends, investors can assess their investment potential.

Are pure play companies suitable for all types of investors?

Pure play companies are considered high-risk because they allow investors to invest in a particular product or company. The performance of a pure play company is deeply correlated to the performance of the sector or niche. 

Pure play stocks are more suitable for experienced investors with a complete understanding of the industry and associated risks.