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Overview of Porters Five Forces Model

03 Oct 2023


Investing in stocks calls for careful analysis of several factors and due diligence. Apart from technical stock analysis, you must evaluate the company’s fundamentals, strengths, weaknesses, and growth prospects, among others. But the question is how you will do so. Porter’s Five Forces Model does precisely that.

What is Porter’s Five Forces Model?

Porter’s Five Forces model is a widely used tool for assessing the competitive forces at play in a business. It was developed by the renowned Harvard Business School professor Michael Eugene Porter in 1979 and has since become a cornerstone of strategic analysis for investors.

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Below are the five key factors involved in the Porter’s Five Forces Model:

  • The threat of new entrants

The first force in Porter’s Five Forces Model is the threat of new entrants. It refers to the ease with which new players can tap the market. Industries with low barriers to entry are susceptible to new entrants, which can intensify competition and erode profitability in the long run. Barriers to entry can include factors such as economies of scale, brand loyalty, government regulations, and access to distribution channels.

While investing in a stock, look for a company that operates in an industry with high entry barriers and, subsequently, low threat of new entrants.

  • The power of suppliers

The second force in Porter’s Five Forces Model is the power of suppliers. Suppliers can wield considerable power in certain industries. For example, when suppliers have few substitutes, control key inputs, or have an established brand reputation, they can demand higher prices or favorable terms.

As an investor, you must assess a company’s dependence on suppliers for smooth business operations. You should also evaluate the availability of alternate options.

  • The power of customers

The customers are at the top of Porter’s Five Forces Model. They are the most crucial force for a business. Like suppliers, customers can make or break a business. Generally, customers are price-sensitive, so companies are likely to face strong bargaining resistance from them. Although it varies from industry to industry, customers can drive lower prices and reduce profit margins.

Hence, you must understand a company’s ability to attract and negotiate with customers before investing in it. Companies operating in a monopoly market are attractive investment propositions.

  • The threat of substitutes

The penultimate force in Porter’s Five Forces Model is the threat of substitute products or services. This force analyses the availability of substitute products or services in an industry and the quality of the available substitutes. If these substitutes can satisfy the needs of customers in the same way as the company’s offerings, there are chances that customers can switch to alternatives.

Thus, before investing in a company, you must identify potential substitutes and the market share of other companies operating in the same industry.

  • The competitive rivalry

The fifth and final force in Porter’s Five Forces Model is the rivalry among existing competitors. This force evaluates the level of competition within an industry. Factors such as the number of competitors, their sizes, and the intensity of competition play a determining role in evaluating competitive rivalry.

High rivalry can lead to price wars among companies and, subsequently, reduced profitability. On the other hand, low rivalry may create more opportunities for companies to innovate and increase their profit margins.

Applications of Porter’s Five Forces Model

Below are the applications of the Porter’s Five Forces Model:

Helps in strategic planning

Porter’s Five Forces Model helps businesses assess their industry’s overall attractiveness and make strategic decisions. By understanding the five forces mentioned above, they can identify areas where they have a competitive advantage and need to fortify their position.

Market entry and expansion

When considering entering a new market, companies can use Porter’s Five Forces Model to evaluate risks and opportunities. It helps them gauge potential profitability and decide whether to proceed or not.

Risk management

Porter’s Five Forces Model aids in risk management by identifying vulnerabilities and potential threats in the competitive environment. Businesses can develop contingency plans to manage these risks.

In conclusion

Porter’s Five Forces Model remains a foundational framework for assessing competitive forces in an industry. By considering the threat of new entrants, the power of suppliers and customers, the threat of substitutes, and the competitive rivalry, you can gain valuable insights into a company’s growth potential and make informed investing decisions.


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