What Is The Main Difference Between A Primary Market And A Secondary Market?

What Is The Main Difference Between A Primary Market And A Secondary Market?

In the dynamic world of the stock market, knowing the difference between primary and secondary markets is key to understanding the working of the share market. In the trading of securities, these two domains serve different needs, catering to investors and companies. In this article, let's explore the details of the difference between primary and secondary markets.

A primary market is where new shares are traded, allowing companies to raise capital for expansion and diversification. On the other hand, the secondary market lets investors trade previously issued securities, where prices fluctuate depending on demand and supply. By understanding the difference between primary market and secondary market, you can better understand and navigate the share market.

What is Primary Market?

Primary and secondary markets are fundamentally different. Understanding what primary and secondary markets are is crucial before we jump into the difference between primary market and secondary markets.

So, primary markets are places where companies offer new shares for sale to the general public. They raise money for long-term capital requirements, like expanding businesses or buying new ones. The corporation makes a variety of issues, including public issues, offers for sale, right issues, bonus issues, and IDRs.

A company bringing an IPO is called an issuer, and the process is called a public offering. A lot of merchant bankers (investment banks) and underwriters help sell the shares, debentures, and bonds to investors directly. However, underwriters and investment banks must be registered with SEBI (Securities Exchange Board of India).

Basically, there are two kinds of public issues:

Initial Public Offer (IPO)

When a company goes public for the first time, listing its shares on the stock exchange after making the offer is called the IPO.

Follow On-Public Offer (FPO)

If a company makes a public offering one more time, it's called a follow-on offer.

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Table of Content

  1. What is Primary Market?
  2. What Is The Secondary Market?
  3. What Are The Differences Between The Primary Market And Secondary Market
  4. Conclusion

What Is The Secondary Market?

On the secondary market, investors sell stock, bonds, debentures, options, commercial papers, treasury bills, etc. of corporations. It can either be an auction market where securities are traded on a stock exchange or an over-the-counter market where securities are traded without using a stock exchange platform.

Initially, in the primary market, the securities are offered to the general public for a subscription fee; the company receives the money and the investors receive the stock; once listed, they are traded on the stock exchange. Additionally, most of the trading of the company happens on these stock exchanges. Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange are the top two stock exchanges in India.

With the help of brokers, an investor can buy and sell securities through the stock exchange. A broker is a member of the stock exchange where an investor trades his or her stock. You can find out whether a broker is registered by looking at the certificate of registration they get from SEBI.

With a better understanding of primary and secondary markets, let's explore what are the differences between the primary market and secondary market.

What Are The Differences Between The Primary Market And Secondary Market

In terms of the difference between the primary and secondary markets, the following points should be noted:


Primary Market

Secondary Market


The primary market refers to the market where new shares are traded.A secondary market is where formerly issued securities are traded.

Also known as

New Issue MarketAfter Market

Purchasing Type



Funds are provided to budding and existing enterprises for expansion and diversification.It does not provide financing to companies.

The number of times security can be sold

Only onceMultiple times

Buying and Selling

Company and investorsInvestors

Who gains the amount from share sales





Fixed PriceFluctuates based on demand and supply

Organisational difference 


No particular location or spot is rooted in it.It exists physically.



Anyone trying to navigate the share market needs to know the difference between  primary market and secondary market. Companies use the primary market to raise capital by offering new shares to the public, while investors trade previously issued securities on the secondary market. 

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Difference Between Primary Market and Secondary Market FAQs

Yes. In the primary market, new shares and bonds are offered to the public for the first time through an initial public offering (IPO). Secondary markets refer to stock exchanges such as BSE, where stocks are traded.

The four types of secondary markets are the stock exchange, the over-the-counter market (OTC), the auction and the dealer market.

In the primary market, an Initial Public Offering (IPO) involves the sale of securities to the public. Among the company's biggest sources of funds, this one has a long or indefinite maturity. It is crucial for a company to launch an IPO as part of its growth process.

In primary markets, new and initial issues of a particular security are traded. The primary market is the first place in which new securities are floated by companies. As far as the turn of transactions is concerned, the primary market always comes before the secondary market.

When a company that is already listed on the exchange issues new shares, it is known as a follow-on public offering (FPO). A company can issue additional shares through an FPO if it has already raised funds through an IPO.