Porter’s Five Forces model is used to analyze the long-term attractiveness of an industry. Understanding the interaction of these forces with the existing competing organizations helps explain the differences in profitability amongst industries. It also helps a company decide whether or not to enter an industry. If a company already has a presence in a particular industry, then using this model enables strategies that achieve and maintain profitability. A company should be capable of applying its core competencies, business model, or channel network to achieve a competitive advantage in its industry.
Let’s study these five forces one by one:
Threat of New Entrants
New entrants in an industry increase the level of competition as existing players try to defend their market share against them. The higher the threat of new entrants, the lower the attractiveness of an industry. Highly profitable markets tend to attract many new players. However, for new entrants to an industry where established players are taking advantage of economies of scale and high product differentiation, several additional obstacles make entering the industry unattractive, including high upfront investment requirements and the time and cost of establishing distribution channels.
Threat of Substitutes
Substitutes are those products or service that meet the same need as another product but which belong to different industries or product categories. Substitutes provide consumers with choice in industries where demand exceeds supply and, as a result, limit profitability within the industry. If substitutes offer equal or greater benefits at a lower cost, they can make an entire industry obsolete. Conversely, factors such as high conversion costs and low value perception result in a low buyer willingness to convert, and consequently a low threat of substitutes.
Bargaining Power of Customers
Customers generally demand high product quality, low costs, quick delivery, and personalized customer support, among other things. As a result, competition is created in the industry as players in the market try to satisfy these demands. Customers use this competition to obtain the best value. Conversely, a number of factors can reduce the bargaining power of customers, for example, high cost of switching to another supplier, low number of suppliers, fragmented customer segments, lack of substitute products, and low threat of backward integration.
Bargaining Power of Suppliers
Suppliers can impact the cost of production by changing the prices of raw materials or intermediate goods. A significant increase in raw material prices can force smaller businesses or less profitable firms to exit the market, as they are not as well positioned as larger more established and more profitable firms to absorb such drastic price changes. In addition, a number of factors can result in low bargaining power of suppliers, for example, availability of low-cost substitutes, low cost of switching to another supplier, low threat of forward integration that is a situation in which a supplier directly reaches out to the end customer, and a low necessity for the supplier’s product in the organization’s final product.
This concept refers to the intensity of competition among existing organizations in an industry. A high degree of competition reduces industry profitability, thereby making the industry less attractive for potential new entrants. There are some factors that can result in a low level of competition, for example, high fixed costs, high level of product differentiation, high customer conversion costs, and the existence of a monopoly, duopoly, or oligopoly.