Five Forces Analysis
What is it?
Five Forces Analysis is a tool that enables managers to study the key factors in an industry environment that shape that nature of competition: (1) rivalry among current competitors, (2) threat of new entrants, (3) substitutes and complements, (4) power of suppliers, and (5) power of buyers.
When do we use it?
In a strategic analysis, Five Forces Analysis is an excellent method to help you analyze how competitive forces shape an industry in order to adapt or influence the nature of competition. Collectively, the Five Forces determine the attractiveness of an industry, its profit potential, and the ease and attractiveness of mobility from one strategic position to another. Because of this, the analysis is useful when firms are making decisions about entry or exit from an industry as well as to identify major threats and opportunities in an industry.
Why do we use it?
This analysis was originally developed by Michael Porter, a Harvard professor and a noted authority on strategy. While all firms operate in a broad socioeconomic environment that includes legal, social, environmental, and economic factors, firms also operate in a more immediate competitive environment. The structure of this competitive environment determines both the overall attractiveness of an industry and helps identify opportunities to favorably position a firm within an industry. Porter identified five primary forces that determine the competitive environment: (1) rivalry among current competitors, (2) threat of new entrants, (3) substitutes and complements, (4) power of suppliers, and (5) power of buyers. 1. Rivalry. Among the direct and obvious forces in the industry, existing competitors must first deal with one another. When organizations compete for the same customers and try to win market share at the others’ expense, all must react to and anticipate their competitors’ actions. 2. Treat of Entrants. New entrants into an industry compete with established companies placing downward pressure on prices and ultimately profits. In the last century, Japanese automobile manufacturers Toyota, Honda, and Nissan represented formidable new entrants
T H E ST R AT E G I ST ’ S TO O L K IT
to the U.S. market, threatening the market position of established U.S. players GM, Ford, and Chrysler. The existence of substantial barriers to entry helps protect the profit potential of existing firms and makes an industry more attractive. 3. Substitutes and Complements. Besides firms that directly compete, other firms can affect industry dynamics by providing substitute products or services that are functionally similar (i.e., accomplishing the same goal) but technically different. The existence of substitutes threatens demand in the industry and puts downward pressure on prices and margins. While substitutes are a potential threat, a complement is a potential opportunity because customers buy more of a given product if they also demand more of the complementary product. For example, iTunes was established as an important complement to Apple’s iPod, and now the firm has leveraged connections among its suite of products including iPhone, iPad, and the like. 4. Power of Suppliers. Suppliers provide resources in the form of people, raw materials, components, information, and financing. Suppliers are important because they can dictate the nature of exchange and the potential value created farther up the chain toward buyers. Suppliers with greater power can negotiate better prices squeezing the margins of downstream buyers. 5. Power of Buyers. Buyers in an industry may include end consumers, but frequently the term refers to distributors, retailers, and other intermediaries. Like suppliers, buyers may have important bargaining powers that dictate the means of exchange in a transaction.
POTENTIAL ENTRANTS Threat of New Entrants Bargaining Power of Suppliers SUPPLIERS Rivalry Among Existing Firms Bargaining Power of Buyers...