PORTER’S FIVE FORCES MODEL
Porter’s Five Forces
Understanding the dynamics of competitors within an industry is critical for several reasons. First, it can
help to assess the potential opportunities for your venture, particularly important if you are entering this
industry as a new player. It can also be a critical step to better differentiate you from others that offer similar
products and services. One of the most respected models to assist with this analysis is Porter’s Five Forces
Model. This model, created by Michael E. Porter and described in the book “Competitive Strategy:
Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors”, has proven to be a useful tool for both business and
The pure competition model does not present a viable tool to assess an industry. Porter’s Five Forces
attempts to realistically assess potential levels of profitability, opportunity and risk based on five key factors
within an industry. This model may be used as a tool to better develop a strategic advantage over
competing firms within an industry in a competitive and healthy environment. It identifies five forces that
determine the long-run profitability of a market or market segment.
3. Entry/Exit Barriers
1. Supplier Power
2. Buyer Power
3. Entry/Exit Barriers
Power of Suppliers
An industry that produces goods requires raw materials. This leads to buyer-supplier relationships between
the industry and the firms that provide the raw materials. Depending on where the power lies, suppliers
may be able to exert an influence on the producing industry. They may be able to dictate price and influence
availability. A segment is unattractive when an organization’s suppliers have the ability to:
One example of this is DeBeers ability to wield influence within the diamond industry. DeBeers’ high level
of control over some of the most productive diamond mines in the world gives them extreme power within
The best defence in mitigating the power of suppliers is to build win–win relationships with suppliers or
arrange to use multiple suppliers.
Power of Buyers
The power of buyers describes the impact customers have on an industry. When buyer power is strong, the
relationship to the producing industry becomes closer to what economists term a monopoly. A Monopoly is
a market where there are many suppliers and one buyer. Under these market conditions, the buyer has the
most influence in determining the price. Few pure monopolies actually exist, but there is often a connection
between an industry and buyers that determines where power lies.
The bargaining power of buyers increases when they have the ability to:
To mitigate the power of buyers, sellers can seek to select buyers with less power to negotiate, switch
suppliers, or develop superior offers that strong buyers cannot refuse.
Barriers to Entry/Exit
The possibility of new firms entering the industry affects competition. A key is to assess how easy it is for a
new player to enter an industry. The most attractive segment has high entry barriers and low exit barriers.
Although any firm should be able to enter and exit a market, each industry often presents varying levels of
difficulty, commonly driven by economics. Manufacturing-based industries are more difficult to enter than
many service-based industries. The definable characteristics of each industry protect profitable areas for
firms and inhibit additional rivals from entering the market. These inhibitive characteristics are referred to
as barriers to entry.
Barriers to entry are more than the expected ebb and flow that markets typically experience. For example,
when industry profits increase, one would expect firms to enter the market to take advantage of the high
profit levels, which will eventually result in reducing profits.