Ask Difference

Sales vs. Revenue — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Published on October 11, 2023
Sales refer to the transactions where goods or services are sold. Revenue is the total income generated by a business, including sales but also other sources like investments or licensing fees.
Sales vs. Revenue — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Sales and Revenue


Key Differences

Sales are specific transactions in which goods or services are exchanged for money. Revenue, on the other hand, is a broader term that encompasses the total amount of money generated by a business, of which sales are generally a part.
Sales often refer to a specific category or time period, such as monthly sales or annual sales. Revenue can include not just income from sales but also from other avenues like investments, rents, or licensing fees, making it more comprehensive in scope.
Sales are recorded at the point of transaction when the customer makes a purchase. Revenue is recognized when it is earned, which may or may not coincide with the point of sale, depending on the accounting method used.
Sales figures are crucial for evaluating the performance of sales teams or product lines. Revenue, being more inclusive, is vital for assessing the overall financial health of a business, taking into account multiple income streams.
Sales may or may not be profitable, as they don't account for costs involved. Revenue is a top-line figure that also does not indicate profitability but provides a more holistic view of a business's income, including sales and other streams.

Comparison Chart




Specific to goods/services
Includes other income streams


At point of transaction
When earned (depends on accounting)


Key for product lines
Key for overall business health


Doesn't indicate profit
Doesn't indicate profit but broader

Compare with Definitions


Sales refer to the total number of items sold.
The sales volume for the month was high.


Revenue is the total income generated by a business.
The company's annual revenue was impressive.


Sales can be a specific time period when goods are sold at reduced prices.
The holiday sales attracted a lot of customers.


Revenue is recognized when it is earned.
Revenue was recognized after the service was delivered.


Sales are transactions where goods or services are sold.
The sales of the new product exceeded expectations.


Revenue can be categorized into operating and non-operating types.
The company's non-operating revenue came from selling a property.


Sales can refer to the department responsible for making such transactions.
The sales team met their quarterly goals.


Revenue can include income from sales, investments, and other sources.
Revenue from licensing fees boosted the bottom line.


Sales can also be a presentation or pitch intended to make a sale.
The sales presentation impressed the client.


Revenue is a top-line figure on a company's financial statement.
Analysts look at revenue to gauge a company's size and growth potential.


Sales are activities related to selling or the number of goods sold in a given targeted time period. The delivery of a service for a cost is also considered a sale.


In accounting, revenue is the income or increase in net assets that an entity has from its normal activities (in the case of a business, usually from the sale of goods and services to customers). Commercial revenue may also be referred to as sales or as turnover.


The exchange of goods or services for an amount of money or its equivalent; the act of selling
The sale of such a nice house should be easy.


Income, especially when of an organization and of a substantial nature
Traders have lost £10,000 in revenue since the traffic scheme was implemented


A selling of property to the highest bidder; an auction.


The income of a government from all sources appropriated for the payment of the public expenses.


An offer or arrangement in which goods are sold at a discount
The store has a sale on winter coats.


Yield from property or investment; income.


The business or activity of selling goods or services
She works in sales.


All the income produced by a particular source.


The number of items sold or the amount of money received for a number of items sold
Sales are better than expected.


A governmental department set up to collect public funds.


Plural of sale


The income returned by an investment.


The activities involved in selling goods or services.
He's likable and motivated: perfect for a career in sales.
We have a sales training program beginning this Monday.


The total income received from a given source.


The amount or value of goods and services sold.
Sales were up 12% over last year.


All income generated for some political entity's treasury by taxation and other means.


Income (at invoice values) received for goods and services over some given period of time


(accounting) The total sales; turnover.


(accounting) The net income from normal business operations; net sales.


(figurative) A return; something paid back.


(intransitive) To generate revenue.


(transitive) To supply with revenue.


That which returns, or comes back, from an investment; the annual rents, profits, interest, or issues of any species of property, real or personal; income.
Do not anticipate your revenues and live upon air till you know what you are worth.


Hence, return; reward; as, a revenue of praise.


The annual yield of taxes, excise, customs, duties, rents, etc., which a nation, state, or municipality collects and receives into the treasury for public use.


The entire amount of income before any deductions are made


Government income due to taxation

Common Curiosities

How are Sales recorded?

Sales are recorded at the point of transaction.

What are Sales?

Sales refer to the transactions where goods or services are sold.

What is Revenue?

Revenue is the total income a business generates.

Can Revenue be higher than Sales?

Yes, as revenue includes other income streams like investments.

What does Sales Volume refer to?

Sales volume refers to the total number of items sold.

Are Sales and Revenue the same?

No, sales are a subset of revenue.

When is Revenue recognized?

Revenue is recognized when it is earned, not necessarily at the point of sale.

Is Revenue a profit indicator?

No, revenue is a top-line figure and does not indicate profitability.

What are types of Revenue?

Revenue can be categorized into operating and non-operating.

Is Sales Revenue?

Sales are often referred to as "sales revenue," which is a component of total revenue.

How is Revenue used in analysis?

Revenue is used to assess the financial health of a business.

What is a Sales Team?

A sales team is responsible for making sales transactions.

Do Sales include discounts and returns?

Sales figures often have to be adjusted for discounts and returns.

What contributes to Revenue besides Sales?

Investments, licensing fees, and rents can contribute to revenue.

Why are Sales important?

Sales are key to assessing product or service demand.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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