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Threat of Substitutes (one of Porter’s Five Forces)

See also:
Porter’s Five Forces of Competition
Threat of New Entrants
Supplier Power
Buyer Bargaining Power
Intensity of Rivalry
Complementors (Sixth Force)

Threat of Substitutes Definition

Porter’s threat of substitutes definition is the availability of a product that the consumer can purchase instead of the industry’s product. A substitute product is a product from another industry that offers similar benefits to the consumer as the product produced by the firms within the industry. According to Porter’s 5 forces, threat of substitutes shapes the competitive structure of an industry.

Download the External Analysis whitepaper to gain an advantage over competitors by overcoming obstacles and preparing to react to external forces, such as it being a buyer’s market.

The threat of substitution in an industry affects the competitive environment for the firms in that industry and influences those firms’ ability to achieve profitability. The availability of a substitution threat effects the profitability of an industry because consumers can choose to purchase the substitute instead of the industry’s product. The availability of close substitute products can make an industry more competitive and decrease profit potential for the firms in the industry. On the other hand, the lack of close substitute products makes an industry less competitive and increases profit potential for the firms in the industry. A threat of substitutes example is the beverage industry due to a market with many competitors.

Threat of Substitutes – Determining Factors

Several factors determine whether or not there is a threat of substitute products in an industry. First, if the consumer’s switching costs are low, meaning there is little if anything stopping the consumer from purchasing the substitute instead of the industry’s product, then the threat of substitute products is high. Second, if the substitute product is cheaper than the industry’s product – thereby placing a ceiling on the price of the industry’s product – then a threat of substitutes high risk is the case. Third, if the substitute product is of equal or superior quality compared to the industry’s product, the threat of substitutes is high. And fourth, if the functions, attributes, or performance of the substitute product are equal or superior to the industry’s product. Any of these situations is a high threat of substitutes: porter’s 5 forces sees less profit potential.

On the other hand, if the substitute is more expensive, of lower quality, its functionality does not compare with the industry’s product, and the consumer’s switching costs are high, then a low threat of substitutes occurs. And of course, if there is no close substitute for the industry’s product, then the threat of substitutes is low.

Threat of Substitutes – Analysis

When analyzing a given industry, all of the aforementioned factors regarding the threat of substitutes may not apply. But some, if not many, certainly will. And of the factors that do apply, some may indicate high threat of substitutes and some may indicate low threat of substitute products. The results will not always be straightforward. Therefore, it is necessary to consider the nuances of the analysis and the particular circumstances of the given firm and industry when using these data to evaluate the competitive structure and profit potential of a market.

The Threat of Substitutes Porter places High risk on:

• Consumer switching costs are low
• Substitute product is cheaper than industry product
• Substitute product quality is equal or superior to industry product quality
• Substitute performance is equal or superior to industry product performance

The Porter Threat of Substitutes Low Risk Situation:

• Consumer switching costs are high
• Substitute product is more expensive than industry product
• Substitute product quality is inferior to industry product quality
• Substitute performance is inferior to industry product performance
• No substitute product is available

Threat of Substitutes Interpretation

When conducting Porter’s 5 forces industry analysis, a low threat of substitute products makes an industry more attractive and increases profit potential for the firms in the industry, while high threat of substitute products makes an industry less attractive and decreases profit potential for the firms in the industry. The threat of substitute products is one of the factors to consider when analyzing the structural environment of an industry using Porter’s 5 forces framework. Start creating a list of potential substitutes that you evaluate as a threat in an external analysis. With this analysis, you’ll be better able to identify and react to any threat of substitutes. Download the free External Analysis whitepaper by clicking here or the image below.

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threat of substitutes

2

Threat of New Entrants (one of Porter’s Five Forces)

See also:
Porter’s Five Forces of Competition
Supplier Power
Buyer Bargaining Power
Threat of Substitutes
Intensity of Rivalry
Complementors (Sixth Force)

Threat of New Entrants Definition

In Porters five forces, threat of new entrants refers to the threat new competitors pose to existing competitors in an industry. A profitable industry will attract more competitors looking to achieve profits. If it is easy for these new entrants to enter the market – if entry barriers are low – this poses a threat to the firms already competing in that market. More competition – or increased production capacity without concurrent increase in consumer demand – means less profit to go around. According to Porter’s 5 forces, threat of new entrants is one of the forces that shape the competitive structure of an industry. Porters threat of new entrants definition revolutionized the way people look at competition in an industry.

The threat of new entrants porter created affects the competitive environment for the existing competitors and influences the ability of existing firms to achieve profitability. A high threat of entry means new competitors are likely to be attracted to the profits of the industry and can enter the industry with ease. New competitors entering the marketplace can threaten or decrease the market share and profitability of existing competitors and may result in changes to existing product quality or price levels. An example of the threat of new entrants porter devised exists in the graphic design industry: there are very low barriers to entry.

As new competitors flood the marketplace, have a plan to react before it impacts your business. Download the External Analysis whitepaper to gain an advantage over competitors by overcoming obstacles and preparing to react to external forces, such as it being a buyer’s market. 

A high threat of new entrance can make an industry more competitive and decrease profit potential for existing competitors. On the other hand, a low threat of entry makes an industry less competitive and increases profit potential for the existing firms. New entrants are deterred by barriers to entry.

Barriers to Entry

Several factors determine the degree of the threat of new entrants to an industry. Many of these factors fall into the category of barriers to entry, or entry barriers. Barriers to entry are factors or conditions in the competitive environment of an industry that make it difficult for new businesses to begin operating in that market.

A high production-profitability threshold requirement, or economy of scale, is an entry barrier that can lower the threat of entry. Highly differentiated products or well-known brand names are both barriers to entry that can lower the threat of new entrants. Significant upfront capital investments required to start a business can lower the threat of new entrants. High consumer switching costs are a barrier to entry. When access to distribution channels is an entry barrier – if it is difficult to gain access to these channels, the threat of entry is low. Access to favorable locations, proprietary technology, or proprietary production material inputs also increase entry barriers and decrease the threat of entry.

And of course, if the opposite is true for any of these factors, barriers to entry are low and the threat of new entrants is high. For example, no required economies of scale, standardized or commoditized products, low initial capital investment requirements, low consumer switching costs, easy access to distribution channels, and no relevant advantages due to locale or proprietary assets all indicate that entry barriers are low and the threat of entry is high.

Other factors also influence the threat of new entrants. Expected retaliation of existing competitors and the existence of relevant government subsidies or policies can discourage new entrants. While no expected retaliation and the lack of relevant government subsidies or polices can encourage new entrants.

Threat of Entry Analysis

When analyzing a given industry, all of the aforementioned factors regarding the threat of new entrants may not apply. But some, if not many, certainly will. Of the factors that do apply, some may indicate a high threat of entry and some may indicate a low threat of entry. The results will not always be straightforward. Therefore it is necessary to consider the nuances of the analysis and the particular circumstances of the given firm and industry when using these data to evaluate the competitive structure and profit potential of a market.

High Threat of entry of new competitors when:

• Profitability does not require economies of scale
• Products are undifferentiated
• Brand names are not well-known
• Initial capital investment is low
• Consumer switching costs are low
• Accessing distribution channels is easy
• Location is not an issue
• Proprietary technology is not an issue
• Proprietary materials is not an issue
• Government policy is not an issue
• Expected retaliation of existing firms is not an issue

Threat of New Entry is Low if:

• Profitability requires economies of scale
• Products are differentiated
• Brand names are well-known
• Initial capital investment is high
• Consumer switching costs are high
• Accessing distribution channels is difficult
• Location is an issue
• Proprietary technology is an issue
• Proprietary materials is an issue
• Government policy is an issue
• Expected retaliation of existing firms is an issue

Threat of New Entry of competitors Interpretation

When conducting Porter’s 5 forces industry analysis, a low threat of new entrants makes an industry more attractive and increases profit potential for the firms already competing within that industry, while a high threat of new entrants makes an industry less attractive and decreases profit potential for the firms already competing within that industry. The threat of new entrants porter’s 5 forces explained is one of the factors to consider when analyzing the structural environment of an industry. To continue to expand your analysis, download the free External Analysis whitepaper by clicking here .

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threat of new entrants

14

Supplier Power (one of Porter’s Five Forces)

See also:
Supplier Power Analysis
Porter’s Five Forces of Competition
Threat of New Entrants
Buyer Bargaining Power
Threat of Substitutes
Intensity of Rivalry

Supplier Power Definition

In Porter’s five forces, supplier power refers to the pressure suppliers can exert on businesses by raising prices, lowering quality, or reducing availability of their products. When analyzing supplier power, the industry analysis is being conducted from the perspective of the industry firms, in this case referred to as the buyers. According to Porter’s 5 forces industry analysis framework, supplier power, or the bargaining power of suppliers, is one of the forces that shape the competitive structure of an industry. The idea is that the bargaining power of the supplier in an industry affects the competitive environment for the buyer and influences the buyer’s ability to achieve profitability. Strong suppliers can pressure buyers by raising prices, lowering product quality, and reducing product availability. All of these things represent costs to the buyer. A strong supplier can make an industry more competitive and decrease profit potential for the buyer. On the other hand, a weak supplier, one who is at the mercy of the buyer in terms of quality and price, makes an industry less competitive and increases profit potential for the buyer.

Download the External Analysis whitepaper to gain an advantage over competitors by overcoming obstacles and preparing to react to external forces, such as it being a buyer’s market.

Supplier Power – Determining Factors

The supplier power Porter has studied includes several determining factors. If suppliers are concentrated compared to buyers – if there are few suppliers and many buyers – supplier bargaining power is high. If buyer switching costs – the cost of switching from one supplier’s product to another supplier’s product – are high, the bargaining power of suppliers is high. If suppliers can easily forward integrate – or begin to produce the buyer’s product themselves – supplier power is high. If the buyer is not price sensitive and uneducated regarding the product, supplier power is high. If the supplier’s product is highly differentiated, supplier bargaining power is high. If the buyer does not represent a large portion of the supplier’s sales, the bargaining power of suppliers is high. If substitute products are unavailable in the marketplace, supplier power is high.

And of course, if the opposite is true for any of these factors, supplier power is low. For example, low supplier concentration, low switching costs, no threat of forward integration, more buyer price sensitivity, well-educated buyers, buyers that purchase large volumes of standardized products, and the availability of substitute products. Each of the four mentioned factors indicate that the supplier power Porter’s five forces emphasize is low. To help determine the level of supplier power in your industry, start by performing an external analysis. This tool will easily help you determine the level of all of Porter’s Five Forces. Download the free External Analysis whitepaper by clicking here or the image below.

supplier power

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15

Standard Chart of Accounts

See Also:
Chart of Accounts (COA)
Problems in Chart of Accounts Design
Complex Number for SGA Expenses

Standard Chart of Accounts

In accounting, a standard chart of accounts is a numbered list of the accounts that comprise a company’s general ledger. The company chart of accounts is basically a filing system for categorizing all of a company’s accounts and classifying all transactions according to the accounts they affect. The chart of accounts list of categories may include assets, liabilities, owners’ equity, revenues, cost of goods sold, operating expenses, and other relevant accounts. (See chart of accounts example below). The standard chart of accounts is sometimes also called the uniform chart of accounts. A chart of accounts template is used to prepare the basic chart of accounts for any subsidiary companies or related entities in order to make consolidation easier.

A standard chart of accounts is organized according to a numerical system. Each major category will begin with a certain number, and then the sub-categories within that major category will all begin with the same number. For example, if assets are classified by numbers starting with the digit 1, then cash accounts might be labeled 101, accounts receivable might be labeled 102, inventory might be labeled 103, and so on. And if liabilities accounts are classified by numbers starting with the digit 2, then accounts payable might be labeled 201, short-term debt might be labeled 202, and so on.

Depending on the size of the company, the chart of accounts may include a few dozen accounts or it may include a few thousand accounts. Depending on the sophistication of the company, the chart of accounts can be paper-based or computer-based. The chart of account is useful for analyzing past transactions and using historic data to forecast future trends.

Below is an example of chart of accounts that may be used to set up the general ledger of most companies. You may customize your COA to your industry by adding to the Inventory, Revenue and Cost of Goods Sold sections to the sample chart of accounts.

SAMPLE CHART OF ACCOUNTS

1000 ASSETS

1010 CASH Operating Account
1020 CASH Debitors
1030 CASH Petty Cash

1200 RECEIVABLES

1210 A/REC Trade
1220 A/REC Trade Notes Receivable
1230 A/REC Installment Receivables
1240 A/REC Retainage Withheld
1290 A/REC Allowance for Uncollectible Accounts

1300 INVENTORIES

1310 INV – Reserved
1320 INV – Work-in-Progress
1330 INV – Finished Goods
1340 INV – Reserved
1350 INV – Unbilled Cost & Fees
1390 INV – Reserve for Obsolescence

1400 PREPAID EXPENSES & OTHER CURRENT ASSETS

1410 PREPAID – Insurance
1420 PREPAID – Real Estate Taxes
1430 PREPAID – Repairs & Maintenance
1440 PREPAID – Rent
1450 PREPAID – Deposits

1500 PROPERTY PLANT & EQUIPMENT

1510 PPE – Buildings
1520 PPE – Machinery & Equipment
1530 PPE – Vehicles
1540 PPE – Computer Equipment
1550 PPE – Furniture & Fixtures
1560 PPE – Leasehold Improvements

1600 ACCUMULATED DEPRECIATION & AMORTIZATION

1610 ACCUM DEPR Buildings
1620 ACCUM DEPR Machinery & Equipment
1630 ACCUM DEPR Vehicles
1640 ACCUM DEPR Computer Equipment
1650 ACCUM DEPR Furniture & Fixtures
1660 ACCUM DEPR Leasehold Improvements

1700 NON – CURRENT RECEIVABLES

1710 NCA – Notes Receivable
1720 NCA – Installment Receivables
1730 NCA – Retainage Withheld

1800 INTERCOMPANY RECEIVABLES

 

1900 OTHER NON-CURRENT ASSETS

1910 Organization Costs
1920 Patents & Licenses
1930 Intangible Assets – Capitalized Software Costs

2000 LIABILITIES

 

2100 PAYABLES

2110 A/P Trade
2120 A/P Accrued Accounts Payable
2130 A/P Retainage Withheld
2150 Current Maturities of Long-Term Debt
2160 Bank Notes Payable
2170 Construction Loans Payable

2200 ACCRUED COMPENSATION & RELATED ITEMS

2210 Accrued – Payroll
2220 Accrued – Commissions
2230 Accrued – FICA
2240 Accrued – Unemployment Taxes
2250 Accrued – Workmen’s Comp
2260 Accrued – Medical Benefits
2270 Accrued – 401 K Company Match
2275 W/H – FICA
2280 W/H – Medical Benefits
2285 W/H – 401 K Employee Contribution

2300 OTHER ACCRUED EXPENSES

2310 Accrued – Rent
2320 Accrued – Interest
2330 Accrued – Property Taxes
2340 Accrued – Warranty Expense

2500 ACCRUED TAXES

2510 Accrued – Federal Income Taxes
2520 Accrued – State Income Taxes
2530 Accrued – Franchise Taxes
2540 Deferred – FIT Current
2550 Deferred – State Income Taxes

2600 DEFERRED TAXES

2610 D/T – FIT – NON CURRENT
2620 D/T – SIT – NON CURRENT

2700 LONG-TERM DEBT

2710 LTD – Notes Payable
2720 LTD – Mortgages Payable
2730 LTD – Installment Notes Payable

2800 INTERCOMPANY PAYABLES

 

2900 OTHER NON CURRENT LIABILITIES

3000 OWNERS EQUITIES

3100 Common Stock
3200 Preferred Stock
3300 Paid in Capital
3400 Partners Capital
3500 Member Contributions
3900 Retained Earnings

4000 REVENUE

4010 REVENUE – PRODUCT 1
4020 REVENUE – PRODUCT 2
4030 REVENUE – PRODUCT 3
4040 REVENUE – PRODUCT 4
4600 Interest Income
4700 Other Income
4800 Finance Charge Income
4900 Sales Returns and Allowances
4950 Sales Discounts

5000 COST OF GOODS SOLD

5010 COGS – PRODUCT 1
5020 COGS – PRODUCT 2
5030 COGS – PRODUCT 3
5040 COGS – PRODUCT 4
5700 Freight
5800 Inventory Adjustments
5900 Purchase Returns and Allowances
5950 Reserved

6000 – 7000 OPERATING EXPENSES

6010 Advertising Expense
6050 Amortization Expense
6100 Auto Expense
6150 Bad Debt Expense
6200 Bank Charges
6250 Cash Over and Short
6300 Commission Expense
6350 Depreciation Expense
6400 Employee Benefit Program
6550 Freight Expense
6600 Gifts Expense
6650 Insurance – General
6700 Interest Expense
6750 Professional Fees
6800 License Expense
6850 Maintenance Expense
6900 Meals and Entertainment
6950 Office Expense
7000 Payroll Taxes
7050 Printing
7150 Postage
7200 Rent
7250 Repairs Expense
7300 Salaries Expense
7350 Supplies Expense
7400 Taxes – FIT Expense
7500 Utilities Expense
7900 Gain/Loss on Sale of Assets

35

Intensity of Rivalry (one of Porter’s Five Forces)

See also:
Porter’s Five Forces of Competition
Threat of New Entrants
Supplier Power
Buyer Bargaining Power
Threat of Substitutes
Complementors (Sixth Force)

Porter’s Intensity of Rivalry Definition

The intensity of rivalry among competitors in an industry refers to the extent to which firms within an industry put pressure on one another and limit each other’s profit potential. If rivalry is fierce, competitors are trying to steal profit and market share from one another. This reduces profit potential for all firms within the industry. According to Porter’s 5 forces framework, the intensity of rivalry among firms is one of the main forces that shape the competitive structure of an industry.

Porter’s intensity of rivalry in an industry affects the competitive environment and influences the ability of existing firms to achieve profitability. High intensity of rivalry means competitors are aggressively targeting each other’s markets and aggressively pricing products. This represents potential costs to all competitors within the industry.

High intensity of competitive rivalry can make an industry more competitive and decrease profit potential for the existing firms. On the other hand, low intensity of competitive rivalry makes an industry less competitive and increases profit potential for the existing firms.

Conducting an competitor analysis can be overwhelming and confusing. Download the External Analysis whitepaper to gain an advantage over competitors by overcoming obstacles and preparing to react to external forces. 

Porter’s Intensity of Rivalry Determining Factors

Several factors determine the intensity of competitive rivalry in an industry. If the industry consists of numerous competitors, Porter rivalry will be more intense. If the competitors are of equal size or market share, the intensity of rivalry will increase. If industry growth is slow, the intensity of rivalry will be high. If the industry’s fixed costs are high, competitive rivalry will be intense. If the industry’s products are undifferentiated or are commodities, rivalry will be intense. If brand loyalty is insignificant and consumer switching costs are low, this will intensify industry rivalry. If competitors are strategically diverse – they position themselves differently from other competitors – industry rivalry will be intense. An industry with excess production capacity will have greater rivalry among competitors. And finally, high exit barriers – costs or losses incurred as a result of ceasing operations – will cause intensity of rivalry among industry firms to increase.

And of course, if the opposite is true for any of these factors, the intensity of Porter rivalry among competitors will be low. For example, a small number of firms in the industry, a clear market leader, fast industry growth, low fixed costs, highly differentiated products, prevalent brand loyalties, high consumer switching costs, no excess production capacity, lack of strategic diversity among competitors, and low exit barriers all indicate that the Porter intensity of rivalry among existing firms is low.

Porter’s Intensity of Rivalry Analysis

When analyzing a given industry, all of the aforementioned factors regarding the intensity of competitive rivalry Porter placed among existing competitors may not apply. But some, if not many, certainly will. And of the factors that do apply, some may indicate high intensity of rivalry and some may indicate low intensity of rivalry. The results will not always be straightforward. Therefore it is necessary to consider the nuances of the analysis and the particular circumstances of the given firm and industry when using these data to evaluate the competitive structure and profit potential of a market.

Intensity of Rivalry is High if…

• Competitors are numerous

• Competitors have equal size

• Competitors have equal market share

• Industry growth is slow

Fixed costs are high

• Products are undifferentiated

• Brand loyalty is insignificant

• Consumer switching costs are low

• Competitors are strategically diverse

• There is excess production capacity

• Exit barriers are high

Intensity of Rivalry is Low if…

• Competitors are few

• Unequal size among competitors

• Competitors have unequal market share

• Industry growth is fast

• Fixed costs are low

• Products are differentiated

• Brand loyalty is significant

• Consumer switching costs are high

• Competitors are not strategically diverse

• There is no excess production capacity

• Exit barriers are low

Porter’s Intensity of Rivalry Interpretation

When conducting Porter’s 5 forces industry analysis, low intensity of rivalry makes an industry more attractive and increases profit potential for the firms already competing within that industry, while high intensity of rivalry makes an industry less attractive and decreases profit potential for the firms already competing within that industry. The intensity of rivalry among existing firms is one of the factors to consider when analyzing the structural environment of an industry using Porter’s 5 forces framework.

Start preparing your external analysis so you can react in realtime when the intensity of rivalry threatens your company. Don’t loose out because of an external force. Download the free External Analysis whitepaper by clicking here.

buyer bargaining power

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Sources on Porter’s Intensity of Rivalry

Harrison, Jeffrey S., Michael A. Hitt, Robert E. Hoskisson, R. Duane Ireland. (2008) “Competing for Advantage”, Thomson South-Western, United States, 2008.

Porter, M.E. (1979) “How competitive forces shape strategy”, Harvard Business Review, March/April 1979.

Porter, M.E. (1980) “Competitive Strategy”, The Free Press, New York, 1980.

Porter, M.E. (1985) “Competitive Advantage”, The Free Press, New York, 1985.

5

Controller vs Comptroller

See Also:
Controller
Controller vs CFO

Controller vs Comptroller

What is the difference is between a controller vs comptroller? At the end of the day, the controller vs comptroller relationship is not all too diverse. A controller is a person that is at the highest accounting level in an organization. In other words, he/she is the head of the financial division of a company. Controllers are responsible for the financial accounting reporting, analysis and interpretation to the executive management team. They also administer the internal controls within an organization. A comptroller must possess the same duties of a financial controller. There is not a significant difference in the roles of a controller versus comptroller. A comptroller definition is a senior accountant in a government organization, however, the duties of a comptroller and controller do not differ. However, there seems to be a slight difference between the two entities when examined at a closer level.

(NOTE: Want to take your financial leadership to the next level? Download the 7 Habits of Highly Effective CFO’s. It walks you through steps to accelerate your career in becoming a leader in your company. Get it here!)

Origins Of Comptroller Vs Controller

Because both definitions seem strikingly similar, why have two terms in the first place? Years ago in the 1800’s, the term “comptroller” arose from a careless misspelling of the term “controller.” At the same time, if one was to examine the etymology of the term “comptroller,” the word itself has French roots that date back to the 15th century. The original English word, countreroller, is a word that means “one who specializes in checking financial ledgers.” From then on, the spelling, along with the duties of a regular controller, stuck and the term “comptroller” became a similar term referring to a financial officer in the government sector.

While in the United States, where capitalism seems to have caused a consolidation of the terms controller versus comptroller, it seems that the term “comptroller” seems to have developed a slight difference in the European sector. The difference in question seems to be one involving the expenses involved with products in a company. A comptroller seems to oversee the overall costs that go into the services a company is providing. On the other hand, the controller is merely concerned with the bottom line; more specifically, the costs that are associated with the final product within a company. Because the controller is more concerned with the bottom line at the end of the day, his job seems to carry a little more weight financially. Therefore, a person with the title controller would most likely be paid more than a comptroller. Though, the amount paid most certainly depends upon the company hiring. If nothing else, the New York Times, when referring to the controller-comptroller relationship states: “the official title controller, in all laws, public records, and documents, be spelled controller, that being historically and etymologically the true and right spelling; and that the false and offensive form ‘comptroller,’ born of ignorance and continued in darkness, be discarded.”

A controller or a comptroller can act as a financial leader in your company. Download the free 7 Habits of Highly Effective CFOs to find out how you can become a more valuable financial leader.

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3

Buyer Bargaining Power (one of Porter’s Five Forces)

Buyer Power Definition

Porter’s Five Forces of buyer bargaining power refers to the pressure consumers can exert on businesses to get them to provide higher quality products, better customer service, and lower prices. When analyzing the bargaining power of buyers, the industry analysis is being conducted from the perspective of the seller. According to Porter’s 5 forces industry analysis framework, buyer power is one of the forces that shape the competitive structure of an industry.

(See the other Porter’s 5 forces of competition.)

The idea is that the bargaining power of buyers in an industry affects the competitive environment for the seller and influences the seller’s ability to achieve profitability. Strong buyers can pressure sellers to lower prices, improve product quality, and offer more and better services. All of these things represent costs to the seller. A strong buyer can make an industry more competitive and decrease profit potential for the seller. On the other hand, a weak buyer, one who is at the mercy of the seller in terms of quality and price, makes an industry less competitive and increases profit potential for the seller. The concept of buyer power Porter created has had a lasting effect in market theory.

Conducting an industry analysis can be overwhelming and confusing. Download the External Analysis whitepaper to gain an advantage over competitors by overcoming obstacles and preparing to react to external forces, such as it being a buyer’s market. 

Buyer Power – Determining Factors

Several factors determine Porter’s Five Forces buyer bargaining power. If buyers are concentrated compared to sellers – if there are few buyers and many sellers – buyer power is high. If switching costs – the cost of switching from one seller’s product to another seller’s product – are low, the bargain power of buyers is high. If buyers can easily backward integrate – or begin to produce the seller’s product themselves – the bargain power of customers is high. If the consumer is price sensitive and well-educated regarding the product, buyer power is high. If the customer purchases large volumes of standardized products from the seller, buyer bargaining power is high. If substitute products are available on the market, buyer power is high.

And of course, if the opposite is true for any of these factors, buyer bargaining power is low. For example, low buyer concentration, high switching costs, no threat of backward integration, less price sensitivity, uneducated consumers, consumers that purchase specialized products, and the absence of substitute products all indicate that buyer power is low.

Buyer Power – Analysis

When analyzing a given industry, all of the aforementioned factors regarding Porter’s 5 Forces buyers power may not apply. But some, if not many, certainly will. And of the factors that do apply, some may indicate high buyer bargaining power and some may indicate low buyer bargaining power. The results will not always be straightforward. Therefore, it is necessary to consider the nuances of the analysis and the particular circumstances of the given firm and industry when using these data to evaluate the competitive structure and profit potential of a market.

Buyer Power is High/Strong if:

• Buyers are more concentrated than sellers

• Buyer switching costs are low

• Threat of backward integration is high

• Buyer is price sensitive

• Buyer is well-educated regarding the product

• Buyer purchases product in high volume

• Buyer purchases comprise large portion of seller sales

• Product is undifferentiated

• Substitutes are available

Buyer Power is Low/Weak if:

• Buyers are less concentrated than sellers

• Buyer switching costs are high

• Threat of backward integration is low

• Buyer is not price sensitive

• Buyer is uneducated regarding the product

• Buyer purchases product in low volume

• Buyer purchases comprise small portion of seller sales

• Product is highly differentiated

• Substitutes are unavailable

Buyer Bargaining Power Interpretation

When conducting Porter’s 5 forces buyer power industry analysis, low buyer bargaining power makes an industry more attractive and increases profit potential for the seller, while high buyer bargaining power makes an industry less attractive and decreases profit potential for the seller. Buyer power is one of the factors to consider when analyzing the structural environment of an industry using Porter’s 5 forces framework. The buyer power Porter’s five forces laid out is well respected even to this day.

Start preparing your external analysis so you can react in realtime when the buyer’s have bargaining power over your company. Don’t loose out because of an external force. Download the free External Analysis whitepaper by clicking here or the image below.

buyer bargaining power

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buyer bargaining power

18