What is Five Forces Analysis and How to Use It


Are you trying to gain competitive advantage in business? Do you want to leverage trends and position your business ahead of the game? Then it’s time to learn about the power of five forces analysis! Here, we’ll give you an overview of this powerful tool and show you how to use it so that your business can succeed. So buckle up, get ready for some intense strategy – let’s dive into five forces analysis!

Introduction to Five Forces Analysis

Five Forces Analysis is a framework for industry and business analysis developed by Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter in 1979. It is used to understand and analyze the competitive intensity and attractiveness of a market, as well as how different external forces can shape the industry profitability.

The purpose of Five Forces Analysis is to help organizations identify how their business strategy will be impacted by external factors in the market environment. Organizations should consider how changes in industry conditions (e.g., shifts in consumers’ needs, technology innovation, new entrants or competitors) may influence their performance over time. Porter’s five forces analysis helps organizations better meet the needs of their customers, allowing them to remain competitive within their respective markets.

The Five Forces Analysis framework consists of five key components:

  • Threat of new entrants
  • Threat of substitute products or services
  • Bargaining power of suppliers
  • Bargaining power of buyers
  • Rivalry among existing firms

By considering each element separately, companies gain insight into opportunities and threats they might not have thought before and are able to plan accordingly.

By analyzing Porter’s Five Forces Framework, organizations can identify areas where they have a competitive advantage or disadvantage that may not be apparent from other sources or research methods. This understanding allows companies to adjust their strategies to account for these external factors before launching into a new product or entering a new market. By anticipating changes due to outside influences businesses can maximize profits by developing strategies that reflect a respected knowledge about the economic landscape around them.

Porter’s Five Forces Model

Developed by Michael Porter, the Five Forces Model is widely accepted as an analytical framework for considering the competitive dynamics and specific industry circumstances. The Five Forces Model identifies and analyzes five competitive forces that determine the state of competition in any industry. These five forces are:

  1. Competitive rivalry: The intensity of rivalry among established firms in the industry. This rivalry affects price levels, quality, service, innovation and better products for customers.
  2. Threat of substitutes: Substitutes for a given product usually result in a decrease in demand for the original product, especially if there are no other differences between the two products to differentiate them from each other.
  3. Bargaining power of buyers: Buyers are considered powerful when they can dictate prices or drive down costs with their large customer base or size of purchase orders.
  4. Bargaining power of suppliers: Suppliers become powerful when they provide unique goods or services that can’t be replaced easily or at a reasonable cost.
  5. Threat of new entrants into the market: Companies entering the market need to have innovative products or processes that will give them an advantage over incumbents who may have an established customer base and brand recognition.

In analyzing each force separately, businesses should keep in mind how these factors interact with one another and assess as a whole which forces might have a greater impact on their business model at any given time. By taking into account these components, companies can gain insight into which strategies make sense for their organization now and which ones won’t work going forward due to changes in market conditions. Ultimately, analyzing Porter’s Five Forces Model helps companies maximize profits through strategic positioning within their markets by recognizing potential weaknesses within the environment surrounding them; it is used often by strategists prior to making decisions about whether to enter particular markets.

Understanding the Five Forces

Five forces analysis is a tool businesses can use to assess the strength of the external environment and the company’s competitive position. The five forces at work are: threat of new entrants, bargaining power of buyers, bargaining power of suppliers, threat of substitute products or services, and rivalry among existing competitors. Each force must be identified and evaluated in order to gain an overall picture that guides strategic decisions.

An understanding of each force allows a business to take proactive steps to protect their market share or improve their competitive position rather than just reacting to competitors’ moves. For example, if there is high threat of new entrants into a particular industry a company may choose to proactively increase research and development efforts to stay ahead or invest more into customer service and loyalty programs so customers have less incentive to switch brands. It’s also beneficial when deciding if entering into new markets as it helps identify potential obstacles before they are encountered.

Companies can use five forces analysis by first analyzing each separate force individually. Then they should consider how these forces interact with one another and identify opportunities where two or more forces come together as well as threats which result from conflicting pressures between two or more separate forces. By looking at the industry in this way companies can identify areas for growth and better understand their competitive advantages or disadvantages in order to adjust their strategy accordingly.

Benefits of Using Five Forces Analysis

Five Forces Analysis is a framework developed by Harvard business professor Michael Porter to assess the competitive dynamics of an industry. The analysis considers five key factors that affect the ability of companies to compete in any given market. By viewing competition through the lens of these five forces, companies can gain insight into their industry’s structure and competitiveness, as well as inform their strategic planning process.

When applied correctly, Five Forces Analysis can be a powerful tool for assessing an industry’s current and future potential attractiveness. It allows companies to accurately gauge which areas are ripe for disruption or growth and what changes may have already occurred within a market – helping them craft effective strategies to capitalize on their findings. Here are some benefits of using Five Forces Analysis:

  1. Identify areas with potential disruption: By examining customer segments, potential entrants, supplier power and substitutes, analysts can identify areas with high potential for disruption or growth. Identifying areas for disruptive innovation will help ensure that an organization remains competitive in rapidly changing markets.
  2. Understand current competition: The analysis helps organizations evaluate their current position in relation to other competitors through considering several aspects such as bargaining power of buyers and suppliers, threat of substitutes and degree of rivalry among competitors currently operating within the same market space.
  3. Make informed decisions: Through taking into account expected changes such as entry barriers faced by new competitors and threats posed by existing players in a given market space, organizations can better understand how external factors will shape their industry structure – providing crucial information required to make informed decisions when it comes to strategy formulation or execution plans related to investments or expansion initiatives going forward.

Steps to Conduct Five Forces Analysis

Conducting a Five Forces Analysis is an essential process for gathering and evaluating competitive intelligence. It provides businesses with detailed insights into the competitive landscape of an industry, revealing potential areas of strength and weakness within their own industry. This competitive intelligence can be used to formulate appropriate strategies that maximize a company’s competitive advantage and minimize its exposure to the forces of competition.

Using a Five Forces Analysis can help companies identify areas for growth and whether or not entering a specific market is worth the risk. To successfully conduct an analysis, there are several key steps that need to be taken:

  1. Identify Key Players: The first step in conducting a five forces analysis is to identify the key players in your industry or market of interest. Consider competitors, both large and small, as well as any potential substitutes that may take away potential business opportunities from your company.
  2. Map Out Competitive Landscape: Once all key players have been identified, it’s important to map out the competitive landscape in order to fully understand how each player interacts with one another. Evaluate factors such as pricing strategies, advertising intensity, switching costs, quality differences between products/services offered by each competitor and customer loyalty trends.
  3. Analyze Bargaining Power Of Buyers: Determine how much bargaining power customers have when making purchases in your industry or market by examining such elements as volume discounts available, number of purchases they make per year with you and percentage pricing relative to other providers (if applicable). Also consider loyalty trends among buyers as well as their ability to switch suppliers quickly at minimal cost should they choose to do so.
  4. Analyze Bargaining Power Of Suppliers: Examine supplier resources when conducting a Five Forces Analysis by considering such factors as supplier concentration (the greater the concentration the more bargaining power suppliers have), supplier heterogeneity (how quickly can replacement suppliers be found), quality standards among existing suppliers (can quality standards vary between suppliers?), integration capabilities (how integrated are current business processes with existing suppliers?), cost structure (lowest bidder tends to win), etc.
  5. Assess Threat Of New Entrants: Evaluate how difficult it might be for new entrants into your sector or existing markets. Look at entry barriers – legal requirements/regulations/licenses needed – capital requirements needed for entry into particular sectors/markets – branding advantages enjoyed by established players – economies of scale already enjoyed by incumbents due size/ scope – technological know-how necessary in certain markets – network effects that could increase incumbents’ market share -etc.. Additionally consider geographical & rivals’ responses if anyone was motivated enough to enter this space? These sorts of questions should help you assess threats posed by new entrants into these markets or sectors.
  6. Estimate Rivalry Among Existing Competitors: Investigate current rivalry between competitors by examining elements like; rate at which profitability increases due exit barriers – incentive firms in this space have not exit – level playing field ie same access resources&info – tendency towards cutthroat tactics employed amongst major operators like price wars etc…– brand loyalty barrier present etc.. By taking a few moments during this step you’ll get better insight into any gaps already present in market due any overcapacity issues amongst existing players – this will better inform later strategic positioning efforts later down line once effective plans formulated based on sound observations made here…

Analyzing the Five Forces

In order to complete a Five Forces Analysis successfully, it is important to understand the tool’s key components. The Five Forces Analysis helps businesses assess an industry’s attractiveness by looking at five forces that can affect profitability and competition: the threat of new entrants, the threat of substitute products or services, the bargaining power of buyers, the bargaining power of suppliers, and rivalry among existing competitors.

The goal of a Five Forces analysis is to identify how these five forces interact with each other in order to create an overall picture of competition within an industry. The result is a measure that shows how attractive an industry is to potential entrants and investors.

When analyzing each force it is important to answer two questions:

  1. How easy or difficult would it be for someone new to enter this market?
  2. How powerful are customers when it comes to demanding lower prices?
  3. Are there any specialized inputs or services necessary for operations within this market?
  4. Are there competitors already established within this market that hold significant strategic advantages?
  5. How easy would it be for customers move away from competing companies in order to find alternatives elsewhere?

The more attractive an industry is considered by analyzing these five forces, the higher likelihood of success there is for those who may wish enter into and succeed within that particular market space. Therefore, correctly assessing each force makes Five Forces Analysis a useful tool in gauging competitive nature in different sectors.

Examples of Five Forces Analysis

Five Forces Analysis is a strategic tool developed by Michael E. Porter in 1979 to understand the profitability and attractiveness of a given market. It takes into account five forces: buyers, sellers, substitutes, new entrants and suppliers. By analyzing each of these forces individually and understanding how they interact with one another, businesses can identify the areas in which to focus their efforts for maximum success.

Here are some examples of how businesses use Five Forces Analysis to make better decisions about market direction:

  1. Develop strategies for leveraging customer power: Customer power refers to the influence of buyers on prices, product quality and supplier selection. A Five Forces Analysis can be used to identify which buyer segments have strong negotiating power and develop strategies for mitigating this impact. For example, companies may focus on building relationships with customers who have greater buying power or establish pricing models that allow them to retain control over their margins while still providing a competitive offering.
  2. Identify threats posed by newer entrants: New entrants can bring fresh ideas and challenge established market players with new pricing models or alternative technologies. A Five Forces Analysis can help uncover any potential advantages that new entrants may hold as well as potential threats they pose – such as in terms of brand loyalty or access to resources – so that proper counter measures can be taken if necessary.
  3. Understand the role of substitutes in your market: Substitutes are products or services outside your immediate category that could satisfy the same need or fill the same role as yourself at a lower cost than you offer – resulting in less meaningful profits from this segment of customers. A Five Forces Analysis looks at alternative sources competitors use, their level of transparency around price points, perceived product quality levels, as well as any available marketing materials. By understanding substitutes, businesses can adjust their price points accordingly – either competing more aggressively against known competition or adopting more defensive tactics depending on the dynamics involved.


Overall, Five Forces Analysis is a useful tool that can help businesses assess the competitive environment they are entering and determine if they have a competitive advantage. As businesses move into more competitive markets, it’s important to take a thorough look at their competition and make sure they have the right strategies in place to succeed.

By understanding what their competitors are doing, how customers are behaving and where potential new entrants might come from, companies can identify potential risks as well as opportunities for growth and create plans to capitalize on them. With a clear understanding of the market, companies can develop plans that maximize their resources and be better prepared for future changes.