Competitive Analysis

Course Number: BU111

Subject: Business

Getting Started

  1. Select an appropriate industry for your research.
    • Determining your industry designation or classification code can be helpful to get a sense of your industry.
    • The two most common industry classification systems are NAICS and SIC. Both are hierarchical, organized by broad industry categories, each divided into more specific industries.
    • Note: If you are researching a very specific or new industry, it may not be included in these industry classification systems.

Finding Five Forces Analysis - Industry databases

  1. Use the following tools to conduct Five Forces analysis on your selected industry:

There is not a ready-made Five Forces analysis available for every industry. If you can't find one, consider searching for a related industry or a larger industry and evaluate whether or not the same factors apply to the industry you are researching.

Finding Five Forces Analysis - Journal databases

  1. Consider running a search in trade journal databases: ABI/Inform Complete, Business Source Complete, Factiva, LexisNexis Academic. Search for articles using a well-formed search strategy (see below).

Tip when constructing your search

Use a company or industry name combined with the following suggested sample search terms in any of the above trade journal databases.

Five Forces Search Strategies

  • Bargaining Power of Buyers
    • (bargain* OR negotiat* OR influenc* OR power) AND (enter actual buyers of product or venture)
    • (pric* OR cost*) AND (switch* OR sensitive*)


  • Bargaining Power of Suppliers
    • (bargain* OR negotiat* OR influenc* OR power) AND (enter actual suppliers of product or venture)
    • (pric* OR cost*) AND (switch* OR sensitive*)


  • Industry Rivalry (Rivalry among Existing firms)
    • (marketplace OR compet* OR "market share" OR "market size" OR dominan* OR position* OR segment*)


  • Threat of Substitutes
    • (differentiat* OR unique* OR new OR improv*)
    • (substitu* OR alternat* OR chang* OR new OR compar* OR unique)


  • Barriers to Entry (Threat of New entrants)
    • (barrier* OR regulat* OR licens* OR tariff* OR restrict* OR trade*)

Tips when searching for articles