5 Force Analysis of Starbucks



A five forces analysis of Starbucks Corporation identifies competition and the bargaining power of buyers as the two strongest external forces impacting the brand’s global industry environment. Factors such as customer loyalty, suppliers’ power over prices, new entrance of competitors and threat of substitutes also impact Starbucks’ profitability.

Five Forces Analysis is a strategic tool used to find attractive investment opportunities for companies in an industry by understanding its competitive dynamics. The framework reveals unconventional and untapped niches that often can’t be seen with traditional methods (such as SWOT). Furthermore, five forces help identify if an industry or market is profitable for an organization to invest resources into.

In this 5 force analysis of Starbucks, we will look at each external factor individually to determine its impact on profitability and competitive advantages over rivals. In particular, we will evaluate the following determinants of competition:

  1. Bargaining Power of Buyers
  2. Bargaining Power of Suppliers
  3. Competitors Rivalry
  4. New Entrance Threats
  5. Threat of Substitutes

Bargaining Power of Suppliers

Bargaining power of suppliers is one of the five forces that can impact a company’s market position and profitability. In the case of Starbucks, the bargaining power of suppliers is moderate due to the coffee chain’s close relationships with coffee producers and coffee suppliers around the world. Starbucks is able to enter into long-term, exclusive contracts with its suppliers, which helps to ensure a steady supply of coffee beans.

Let’s take a closer look at the bargaining power of suppliers for Starbucks.

Identify Starbucks’ Suppliers

As one of the largest coffee and beverage companies in the world, Starbucks works with a vast network of suppliers. In order to better understand the company’s bargaining power within the supplier-customer relationship, it is important to identify its suppliers.

Starbucks’ main suppliers include those who provide the primary resources for its finished products: green coffee beans, dairy products, sugar, cups and other packaging materials. This list also includes those who provide supplemental ingredients like syrups, spices and food items. Finally, supplies used by Starbucks stores are also included in this list. These can range from maintenance supplies like brooms and cleaning supplies to office products like paper cups and printer ink cartridges.

By understanding the companies that serve as primary resources for Starbucks’ production needs as well as their influencers on product quality, we can better assess the bargaining power of each supplier with regards to Starbuck’s operations – allowing us to create an informed 5 Force Analysis of how each supplier affects market competition in delivering value for Starbucks’ products.

Assess the Suppliers’ Power

In assessing the bargaining power of Starbucks’ suppliers, it is important to consider how many potential suppliers there are, what potential substitutes of the supplier’s products may exist, how much resources are needed to enter and compete in the market, as well as how differentiated and unique the inputs/suppliers services are. With these factors taken into consideration, then one can make an assessment of the supplier’s power.

To begin with, supplier concentration is generally high in this industry as large firms have been able to secure exclusive contracts with their suppliers. In addition to this, raw material supply can be both difficult and expensive for new entrants given that major players have been able to secure a significant foothold within their respective supply chains. Additionally, substitutability of inputs/services are low since Starbucks utilizes specialty coffee beans and ingredients for its popular drinks. Finally, high switching costs mean that it would be difficult for other companies to enter and compete in this sector since resources need to be invested in order to even start offering a comparable product or service.

Overall, considering all these factors together suggests that Starbucks’ suppliers have a strong level of bargaining power due to their monopolistic position within the industry.

Analyze the Impact of Bargaining Power of Suppliers on Starbucks

The bargaining power of Starbucks suppliers is an important component to analyze in a five forces analysis of the coffeehouse giant. Understanding this aspect of the competitive landscape is important to decide whether it’s advantageous or disadvantageous for the company, as it plays a large role in forming strategy and managing performance.

As one of the world’s largest and most powerful coffee brands, Starbucks has a great deal of bargaining power when dealing with its suppliers. It sources its coffee beans from numerous countries around the world, so its global presence gives it access to wide range of resources to enable it to get better prices for raw materials. Furthermore, due to its volume purchasing power, Starbucks has been able to negotiate long-term contracts with some suppliers for consistent supply and quality assurance.

However, rising commodity costs could have an impact on the bargaining power of suppliers as commodities become more expensive. This could put pressure on Starbucks’ costs and potentially reduce margins depending upon their ability to pass along these costs in higher prices. Moreover, having shorter-term supplier agreements may prevent Starbucks from expanding with less risk or getting discounted pricing on materials that necessitates long-term commitments due to market trends.

In conclusion; the bargaining power of suppliers plays an important role in driving profitability and long-term success at Starbucks. While currently they enjoy strong position amongst their supplier base due their size and global presence; monitoring commodity costs and relationships with short term supply agreements are necessary steps for them going forward.

Bargaining Power of Buyers

When looking at the bargaining power of buyers, it helps to know that Starbucks is a specialty retailer. Many of the customers of Starbucks rely on the company for a wide variety of beverages and other products. When customers have this level of dependence on Starbucks, the company has an advantage in that buyers have little to no bargaining power.

In addition, Starbucks’ larger locations carry more exclusive products, giving the company even more power when it comes to setting prices.

Identify Starbucks’ Buyers

When conducting a 5-force analysis of Starbucks, it is important to identify the buyers who have bargaining power over Starbucks. These buyers are essentially Starbucks’ customers and can range from individual consumers making coffee purchases to large retailers purchasing multiple boxes of coffee mixes or bags of beans. It is also important to consider which third-party suppliers and distributors are involved in the delivery process, as they too may have some degree of bargaining power over the company.

In terms of individual customers, these can include people who come into Starbucks stores directly or purchase items on the official website or through various delivery services. Furthermore, many cafés and restaurants purchase coffee from Starbucks for their own businesses. Additionally, grocery stores often stock pre-packaged items from Starbucks, such as K-cups and ground coffee tins.

Known companies that showcase Starbucks’ products include:

  • Target stores in North America.
  • Vons by Safeway supermarkets in California and select markets in North America owned by Walmart or Albertson’s Incorporated.
  • Certain hotels like Holiday Inn often sell product from Starbucks on their properties.
  • Other airlines like Singapore Airlines offer packaging from Starbucks on their flights as well as retail dine-in options within certain airports worldwide (including O’Hare International).

Finally, it is important to note that various third-party suppliers play an active role between the Starbuck Corporation and their buyers by pressing coffee beans into grounds for instance or stocking retail locations with its products—all of which affect prices and quality standards ultimately established by Starbucks itself yet still complicate buyer bargaining powers at any one time.

Assess the Buyers’ Power

The bargaining power of buyers influences the profitability of the coffee industry. Buyers could affect the rate and margins in the coffee industry. High buyer power reduces average industry profitability and stimulates new entry and exit from the market.

Different factors come in to play when assessing the buyers’ power, including:

  • Price sensitivity – Are buyers sensitive to prices, or can they easily substitute away from products if prices increase?
  • Brand loyalty – Do buyers have a preference for a certain supplier?
  • Awareness of substitutes – How aware are buyers of lower priced substitute goods?
  • Product differentiation – Is there a wide range of product variation between suppliers or are there plenty of substitutes available on the market?
  • Switching costs – Are there costs involved with switching between different suppliers once a purchase has been made?

The bargaining power of buyers impacts Starbucks through its ability to influence pricing within its unique positioning. The company is able to maximize profits by offering premium beverages at higher prices, while maintaining value perception through innovation in products and locations which help build customer loyalty. Its market strategy allows Starbucks to remain largely immune from buyer pressures such as price sensitivity, as its customers recognize its coffee for being consistent in quality, unlike other coffeehouse competitors that tend to produce lower quality generic coffees for cheaper prices. Additionally, Starbucks’ brand loyalty among customers makes it difficult for competitors to effectively establish their own mark in the market, thus further decreasing buyer power and narrowing down their threat overall.

Analyze the Impact of Bargaining Power of Buyers on Starbucks

The primary purpose of a Five Force Analysis of Starbucks is to analyze the impact of bargaining power of buyers on the company. This analysis will help determine if Starbucks is able to capture maximum profits and operate within the industry, and also if buyers have enough leverage in the market to dictate prices or force Starbucks to make unsustainable concessions.

The bargaining power of buyers can refer to their potential threats on Starbucks including things like number of substitute options available, switching costs, brand loyalty, price sensitivity, and ability to influence prices through bulk purchases. An assessment of the impact of each threat is essential in understanding the overall landscape which buyers hold over Starbucks.

Starbucks has an advantage against its competitors in terms of multiple channels for reaching customers; direct retail stores, franchise stores, licensed locations/partnerships such as supermarkets/warehouses, foodservice distribution network as well as a sizable international presence across 65 countries. In addition, it continues investing in cutting edge technology such as mobile apps rewards systems or convenient delivery services. This puts buyer’s bargaining power into question given that but that lack diversity could lead to higher price sensitivities or less switching costs for those willing purchase vendors outside commodities like coffee beans at a cheaper rate.

A thorough Five Force Analysis factors external conditions relating specifically to competitors- rivalry among existing competitors influence buyer bargaining power significantly because it affects profitability margins and market share earned by competing firms. Higher concentrations are seen within specialty coffee shops such as Dunkin Donuts where they have found success with differentiated menu items while also holding franchising contracts controlling local markets influencing how much control buyers can have from a regional level concerning pricing decisions without abandoning national distribution networks or strategic marketing campaigns implemented by corporate levels. Such effects spell out two sided issues ranging from underlying assumptions about markets being unable garner an efficient flow profits for investors as well locations playing small roles in large networks appealing heavily off brand recognition thus changes occurring in competition climate could result costly discounting effects compromising profit margins further driving up production waste affecting entire sector leading more commoditization among products changing cost basis ratio along with sentiments among investors external facing financial reporting body resulting decrease overall stakeholder value which can be measured efficiency issues related personnel operating costs time operating resources abroad furthermore management balance sheet equity may suffer due lower appreciation publicly traded firms especially associated smaller dynamics traditional brick mortar operations underwhelming outcomes versus larger online retailer formats where cost savings become more apparent considering reduction associated overhead services.

Threat of Substitutes

The threat of substitutes is a component of Porter’s Five Forces Model which analyses the attractiveness of an industry. The threat of substitutes measures competition from external products or services which are not part of the industry. With respect to Starbucks, the threat of substitutes could come from local cafes, fast food chains and other coffee shops.

In order to understand this threat, one should analyze the customer’s willingness to switch between these substitutes.

Identify Starbucks’ Substitutes

When considering the threat of substitutes, it is important to identify which companies and/or products serve as potential substitutes for Starbucks. The list of potential competitors includes:

  • Fast food establishments
  • Convenience stores
  • Grocery stores
  • Independent or specialty coffeehouses
  • Home brewing equipment
  • Vending machines
  • Café franchises such as Dunkin Donuts, McDonald’s and local independent café’s.

In addition to the potential competition from direct competitors, there are also barriers to entry (such as brand recognition, customer loyalty and economies of scale) that act as a substitute for Starbucks. For instance, some customers may be satisfied with purchasing lower priced pre-packaged coffee beans at local grocers or convenience stores rather than visiting Starbucks directly. Similarly, consumers who would like a more personalized coffee experience may choose to visit independent coffeehouses in their area rather than frequent a chain store. Lastly, with the rise in popularity of Keurig single-serve brewers many customers have chosen to make freshly brewed single cups of high quality coffees at home which represent yet another formidable substitute.

Assess the Threat of Substitutes

The threat of substitutes is an important factor to consider when conducting a five forces analysis of the competitive environment. Companies must consider how easily customers could switch from their product or service to a substitute.

For Starbucks, the threat of substitutes is moderate. On the one hand, there are many competitors in the market who offer similar products and services, including other cafes and coffeehouses like Peet’s Coffee, Caribou Coffee, Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s. On the other hand, Starbucks has succeeded in building brand loyalty with its consumers and provides something unique to set itself apart: its wide variety of beverages, food offerings and customer experience. This has allowed Starbucks to maintain a loyal customer base that would be difficult to replicate with substitutes.

Alternatively, some consumers may opt for more affordable beverage options such as home-brewed or single-serve cups; this adds another layer of competition that Starbucks must address. Although these options represent a legitimate threat in certain situations (such as price-sensitive markets), most consumers have been trained to prefer specialty drinks made by baristas for quality assurance comparisons – something that cannot be replicated inside the home without significant training and resources.

Analyze the Impact of Threat of Substitutes on Starbucks

Threat of Substitutes is one of the five forces that determine the intensity of competition within an industry. This is the degree to which other products or services could pose a threat to Starbucks by providing customers with lower cost, higher quality, more features or better service alternatives.The potential for threat of substitutes is closely related to product or service differentiation. The greater the differentiation, the less likely it is that customers will turn to alternatives. To analyze the impact that substitutes have on Starbucks, consider these key elements:

  1. Price: Price is an important factor when it comes to threat of substitutes. Starbucks’ premium pricing means that there are typically cheaper alternative options available, though they may not have the same level of brand recognition and prestige as Starbucks.
  2. Quality: With a slight uptick in price often comes a distinct uptick in quality when compared with substitutable products or services. Quality can vary greatly between different substitutable options and you must assess whether any of them will offer enough improved value for customers to switch over from Starbucks offerings.
  3. Features: Along with price and quality comparisons come feature comparisons between substitutable goods and services as well as those offered by Starbucks throughout its menu offerings, promotions, loyalty programs and more. Any distinct advantages that competitors may have can help shape your understanding of how represents a threat for each item on your menu instead – from food items to drinks and beyond – enabling you to adjust accordingly where necessary in order to remain competitive within your industry against powerful potential threats from substitutions which might otherwise lure away customers otherwise interested in patronizing your company’s products or services over time if permitted unchecked growth or proliferation instead.

Threat of New Entrants

As one of the world’s leading coffee companies, Starbucks has built a powerful position in the market with its brand recognition and premium products.

The threat of new entrants is one of the five forces used to assess the competitive strength of an industry and when it comes to Starbucks, the threat of new entrants is relatively low. Let’s take a closer look at this threat and the factors that contribute to making Starbucks a difficult industry to break into.

Identify Potential New Entrants

In order to assess the threat of new entrants for a company like Starbucks, it is important to identify potential new entrants. In the case of Starbucks, potential new entrants could include large chains such as McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts, smaller independent stores and cafes, or even newer concepts that are yet to be introduced. All companies operating in the market will also have their own unique strengths and weaknesses that can be leveraged.

It is important to evaluate factors such as brand recognition and capital investment required for entry into the market. Companies such as McDonald’s already have a strong global brand presence, making entry into markets like coffee retail easier due to strong consumer awareness. Companies that require significant capital investments are likely to face more barriers in entering the market than those who do not require high costs of entry.

Additionally, it is also important to assess how legal or regulatory policies of certain countries can affect the ability of a company to enter the market. For instance, Starbucks has faced some restrictions in certain countries due to local regulations regarding ownership of coffee franchises. Furthermore, it is essential for an analysis of this kind to consider how technological advances can enable companies with limited resources compete more effectively with established firms like Starbucks in terms of speed and convenience (e.g., delivery services).

Assess the Threat of New Entrants

A key element in assessing the Threat of New Entrants is the potential cost of new entrants to compete with Starbucks. New entrants to the market may include established companies already in tea and coffee business, as well as startups entering for the first time. Starbuck’s pricing strategy is a major barrier for new entrants in this sector due to its well-positioned brand globally and domestic presence.

The cost of entering the market can be a major barrier for new entrants, especially when considering factors such as marketing costs and brand building expenses. Additionally, Starbucks also has high financial investments related to product development, facilities, equipment and expanding into different areas across countries/regions.

Furthermore, both existing players and potential competitors face high capital investments when entering the market which makes it difficult for small or mid-level competitors to invest heavily in promotions or advertising campaigns. It is estimated that it takes around 3-5 years to recoup investment made on economies of scale which could challenge smaller players because they lack access to financing options like Starbucks.

Other barriers that make entry difficult into this industry include:

  • The complexity involved due to multiple competitors from various segments within this industry e.g.: Local pubs serving alternative beverages as well as other players such as Dunkin Donuts etc.,
  • complex supply network requirements & distribution setup costs,
  • heavy regulations with regards health & safety standards and environmental implications etc.,
  • team & personnel management complexities involved in managing staff within multiple locations (especially important from an employee engagement perspective).

All these points need careful consideration if any potential new entrant intends on challenging Starbucks’ marketshare anywhere globally or even domestically within their own home country/region/state.

Analyze the Impact of Threat of New Entrants on Starbucks

The threat of new entrants into the market is a crucial factor in assessing the current state of competition in any industry. As new firms enter, they create additional competition which can reduce profits and put a strain on existing market players. This can be especially true in industries with high barriers to entry and strong brand loyalty, such as Starbucks.

When evaluating the threat of new entrants for Starbucks, several factors must be taken into account. The first factor is the amount of capital required to start a new business, as this directly affects the degree of difficulty for potential competitors. In addition, existing laws and regulations should be taken into account when considering the threat of new entrants – particularly intellectual property laws that may protect or hinder a company from entering the market.

The availability of resources and technology available to potential competitors is an important factor that contributes to the degree of threat posed by new entrants. Large companies such as Starbucks often have access to more advanced resources than smaller startups do which gives them an advantage when competing against potential newcomers in their industry. Additionally, major developments in technology can give rise to entirely new markets or open opportunities for existing companies while posing a challenge for potential competitors due to their lack of experience with said technologies. Lastly, the current competitive environment posed by already established market players (including their pricing strategies) must be taken into consideration when predicting how much impact a potential entrant could potentially have on Starbucks’s performance.

Overall, threats posed by new entrants should play an important part in any evaluation done regarding Starbucks’s competitive landscape regardless if these threats are considered or realized due to their potential negative effects on performance and profitability as well as their ability to shape current industry trends.


The 5 Force Analysis of Starbucks suggests that, overall, Starbucks has a strong competitive position in the international coffee industry. The company has a very solid brand name and presence all around the world, and its products are well-known and highly regarded. Additionally, its supply chain makes it difficult for competitors to enter the market or gain access to raw materials. The company also benefits from economies of scale, making it cost-efficient for producing large numbers of drinks.

On the other hand, Starbucks faces competition from many smaller firms who can provide similar specialty coffee drinks at lower prices. Moreover, new technological advancements may allow consumers to create their own beverages at home more easily and cheaply leading to declining sales at Starbucks outlets. In summary, while Starbucks has a strong competitive position in the industry, it should continue to monitor its competitors closely in order to ensure its continued success going forward.