A Harvard Business School professor developed the Porter's Five Forces framework in 1979 to help businesses analyze market competitiveness.
Instead of comparing you to your competitors, this analysis of competitive forces considers suppliers, customers, and similar products that can affect your position within a market. The five forces refer to the threats or forces that threaten your business and include:
Threat of new entrants
The threat of new entrants refers to a new company directly competing with your brand for the first time in the market.
For example, if you sell computers, a new computer company could enter the market at any point. Analyzing this threat helps you determine the likelihood that a new company will try to attract the same customers with a similar product.
Bargaining power of suppliers
The bargaining power of suppliers refers to how much of a risk your suppliers are to your business. If your suppliers increase their prices, it may force you to increase yours, which can impact sales and overall profitability. This force measures the likelihood your suppliers will increase their prices.
If your suppliers have more competition, they're less likely to increase their prices because they must remain competitive in their own markets.
Bargaining power of buyers
The next threat is the bargaining power of your buyers. If you operate in an industry with fewer buyers, the customer has more room to negotiate prices and features. However, if you work in an industry with more customers, they have less power, allowing you to set prices.
Unfortunately, buyer power is also influenced by your competition. The more competition you have, the more bargaining power your customers have because they can easily purchase the same or a similar product from somewhere else.
Threat of substitute products or services
The threat of substitute products or services determines the likelihood that customers will choose to shop with the competition to purchase products that are similar to yours. However, it's not just your direct competitors you have to worry about. Instead, adjacent competitors can attract your customers as well.
For instance, bookshops thought they only had to worry about other bookshops in the area until phones, computers, and e-readers entered the market, allowing customers to read their favorite novels and magazines in an entirely different way.
The threat of substitute products or services helps you determine whether there are products available that could impact your sales. Unfortunately, this isn't always easy to determine. Bookshop owners had no way of knowing that the smartphone industry would disrupt theirs.
Intensity of competitive rivalry
The final threat is the intensity of your competitive rivalry. You should know how many competitors they have, the types of products and services they sell, their price points, standout features, and overall strengths and weaknesses.