Porter's Five Forces Analysis is an important tool for understanding the forces that shape competition within an industry. It is also useful for helping you to adjust your strategy to suit your competitive environment, and to improve your potential profit.
Competition in the Industry
The importance of this force is the number of competitors and their ability to threaten a company. The larger the number of competitors, along with the number of equivalent products and services they offer, the lesser the power of a company. Suppliers and buyers seek out a company's competition if they are unable to receive a suitable deal. When competitive rivalry is low, a company has greater power to do what it wants to do to achieve higher sales and profits.
Potential of New Entrants Into an Industry
A company's power is also affected by the force of new entrants into its market. The less time and money it costs for a competitor to enter a company's market and be an effective competitor, the more a company's position may be significantly weakened. An industry with strong barriers to entry is an attractive feature for companies that would prefer to operate in a space with fewer competitors.
Power of Suppliers
This force addresses how easily suppliers can drive up the price of goods and services. It is affected by the number of suppliers of key aspects of a good or service, how unique these aspects are, and how much it would cost a company to switch from one supplier to another. The fewer the number of suppliers, and the more a company depends upon a supplier, the more power a supplier holds.
Power of Customers
This specifically deals with the ability customers have to drive prices down. It is affected by how many buyers or customers a company has, how significant each customer is, and how much it would cost a customer to switch from one company to another. The smaller and more powerful a client base, the more power it holds.
Threat of Substitutes
Competitor substitutes that can be used in place of a company's products or services pose a threat. For example, if customers rely on a company to provide a tool or service that can be substituted with another tool or service or by performing the task manually, and if this substitution is fairly easy and of low cost, a company's power can be weakened.
Understanding Porter's 5 Forces and how they apply to an industry, can enable a company adjust its business strategy to better use its resources to generate higher earnings for its investors.