Porter’s Five Forces Vs. Pestel Analysis

The PESTEL Analysis can be used as an extension of the SWOT Analysis to understand macro-trends shaping an industry based on several macro areas. It can be integrated with Porter’s Five Forces model for a wider assessment of competition within an industry and take the strategic positioning, planning, and execution.

AspectPorter’s Five ForcesPESTEL Analysis
DefinitionPorter’s Five Forces is a framework for analyzing the competitive forces within an industry that shape an organization’s strategy and profitability. It helps identify the attractiveness of an industry.PESTEL Analysis is a strategic framework for assessing the macro-environmental factors that can impact an organization. It stands for Political, Economic, Sociocultural, Technological, Environmental, and Legal factors. It provides a structured approach to examining the macro-environment.
FocusPorter’s Five Forces primarily focuses on understanding the competitive dynamics within an industry, such as the intensity of rivalry, the threat of new entrants, the power of buyers and suppliers, and the threat of substitutes.PESTEL Analysis places a stronger emphasis on external factors and explores a broader range of external influences that may affect an organization. It aims to identify potential opportunities and threats arising from the external environment.
ComponentsPorter’s Five Forces comprises five main components: – Rivalry among Existing Competitors: Assessing the intensity of competition within the industry. – Threat of New Entrants: Evaluating the ease with which new competitors can enter the market. – Bargaining Power of Suppliers: Analyzing the influence suppliers have over firms. – Bargaining Power of Buyers: Assessing the influence buyers have over firms. – Threat of Substitutes: Examining the availability of substitute products or services.PESTEL Analysis consists of six main categories: – Political Factors: These factors include government policies, stability, political ideologies, and regulations. They can significantly impact businesses through changes in laws, trade policies, or government stability. – Economic Factors: Economic conditions, such as inflation rates, exchange rates, economic growth, and consumer confidence, fall into this category. Economic factors can influence business profitability and consumer behavior. – Sociocultural Factors: This category encompasses social and cultural factors like demographics, lifestyle trends, cultural norms, and consumer attitudes. Sociocultural changes can affect consumer preferences and market demand. – Technological Factors: Technological factors include advancements, innovation, and the rate of technological adoption. They can impact product development, processes, and competitiveness. – Environmental Factors: Environmental factors relate to ecological and sustainability issues, including climate change, environmental regulations, and consumer awareness of environmental concerns. – Legal Factors: Legal factors encompass laws, regulations, and compliance issues that affect businesses. They can include labor laws, industry-specific regulations, and intellectual property rights.
Timing ConsiderationsPorter’s Five Forces can be applied at any time to assess the industry’s competitive dynamics. It is often used to inform strategic decisions and evaluate the attractiveness of an industry.PESTEL Analysis is typically used to assess the broader macro-environmental factors that can impact an organization’s long-term strategies. It considers factors that evolve more slowly and are less subject to short-term fluctuations.
Strategic FocusPorter’s Five Forces guides firms in developing strategies to gain a competitive advantage within their industry. It helps organizations understand their position relative to competitors.PESTEL Analysis is often used by organizations to assess the potential impact of external factors on their strategies. It helps identify challenges and opportunities in the external environment.
Use in Different ContextsPorter’s Five Forces is widely used in business strategy and market analysis across various industries and sectors.PESTEL Analysis is employed in economic development, international trade, and regional planning to assess a nation’s or region’s competitive advantage and inform policy decisions. It is also used in business strategy, risk assessment, and environmental scanning.
Limitations– Porter’s Five Forces may oversimplify industry dynamics. – It may not consider the interplay of factors outside the industry. – It might not account for rapid changes in technology or other external factors.– PESTEL Analysis may require extensive data and research to assess all six factors comprehensively. – It may not provide immediate tactical guidance for businesses. – The model’s effectiveness depends on the quality of data and analysis used to assess each factor.
Application LevelsPorter’s Five Forces can be applied at various levels, including the corporate, business unit, and industry levels.PESTEL Analysis is typically used at the national, regional, or global level to evaluate competitiveness across multiple industries and sectors. It provides a high-level overview.
Decision-Making FrameworkPorter’s Five Forces provides a framework for analyzing an industry’s competitive forces and informing decisions related to market entry, pricing, and competitive strategy.PESTEL Analysis informs decision-makers about the potential impact of external factors on their organization’s strategies. It helps organizations adapt to changing external conditions.
Competitive AdvantagePorter’s Five Forces helps businesses identify sources of competitive advantage within their industry and develop strategies to leverage or mitigate the identified forces.PESTEL Analysis addresses the broader macro-environmental factors that can affect an organization’s competitive advantage. It helps organizations align strategies with external conditions.
Examples of Benefits– A smartphone manufacturer may use Porter’s Five Forces to assess the competitive landscape and identify strategies to differentiate its products. – An e-commerce company might apply the framework to evaluate the bargaining power of its suppliers and devise supply chain strategies.– A national government may use PESTEL Analysis to assess the impact of changing political policies on its trade relationships. – A multinational corporation might use PESTEL Analysis to evaluate the potential risks and opportunities of entering a new international market. – A sustainability-focused organization may employ PESTEL Analysis to assess the impact of environmental factors on its long-term strategy.

Porter’s Five Forces is a model that helps organizations to gain a better understanding of their industries and competition. Published for the first time by Professor Michael Porter in his book “Competitive Strategy” in the 1980s. The model breaks down industries and markets by analyzing them through five forces
The PESTEL analysis is a framework that can help marketers assess whether macro-economic factors are affecting an organization. This is a critical step that helps organizations identify potential threats and weaknesses that can be used in other frameworks such as SWOT or to gain a broader and better understanding of the overall marketing environment.

Key Similarities between PESTEL Analysis, SWOT Analysis, and Porter’s Five Forces:

  • Strategic Analysis Tools: PESTEL Analysis, SWOT Analysis, and Porter’s Five Forces are all strategic analysis tools used by organizations to gain insights into their business environment and competition.
  • External Focus: All three models primarily focus on external factors that influence the organization, including market conditions, industry dynamics, and macro-economic trends.
  • Holistic Understanding: By analyzing various external factors, these models provide a comprehensive view of the organization’s business landscape and help identify potential opportunities and threats.

Key Differences between PESTEL Analysis, SWOT Analysis, and Porter’s Five Forces:

  • Scope of Analysis:
    • PESTEL Analysis: Evaluates macro-economic factors, such as Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental, and Legal factors, that impact the industry or market in which the organization operates.
    • SWOT Analysis: Assesses both internal factors (Strengths and Weaknesses) and external factors (Opportunities and Threats) to understand the organization’s overall strategic position.
    • Porter’s Five Forces: Focuses on industry-specific factors, including the bargaining power of buyers and suppliers, threat of new entrants, threat of substitutes, and competitive rivalry, to analyze the competitive intensity within an industry.
  • Application:
    • PESTEL Analysis: Used to identify and analyze the potential impact of macro-environmental factors on the organization’s business and industry.
    • SWOT Analysis: Helps identify internal strengths and weaknesses and external opportunities and threats, aiding in strategic planning and decision-making.
    • Porter’s Five Forces: Aids in understanding the competitive landscape within a specific industry and helps develop competitive strategies.
  • Integration:
    • PESTEL Analysis: Can be used as an extension of SWOT Analysis to gain insights into macro-trends shaping an industry and broaden the understanding of the business environment.
    • SWOT Analysis: Can be used alongside PESTEL Analysis to complement the external analysis with an assessment of internal capabilities.
    • Porter’s Five Forces: Often used in conjunction with PESTEL Analysis and SWOT Analysis to gain a more comprehensive understanding of industry dynamics and competition.

Key Takeaways:

  • PESTEL Analysis, SWOT Analysis, and Porter’s Five Forces are strategic analysis tools that focus on external factors impacting the organization.
  • PESTEL Analysis evaluates macro-economic factors, SWOT Analysis assesses both internal and external factors, and Porter’s Five Forces analyzes industry-specific competitive forces.
  • These models can be used in combination to gain a holistic understanding of the organization’s business environment, competition, and market dynamics, enabling informed strategic positioning, planning, and execution.

Case Studies

  • Tech Industry:
    • PESTEL: A rise in data privacy concerns (Political/Legal) pushes tech companies to revise their user agreements.
    • SWOT: A tech company’s strength might be its unique algorithm, but a weakness might be its dependency on third-party hardware. Opportunities could be in emerging markets, while threats might come from increasing competitors.
    • Porter’s Five Forces: The smartphone market sees intense rivalry among competitors like Apple, Samsung, and Google.
  • Automotive Industry:
    • PESTEL: The push for green energy (Environmental) propels the electric car industry forward.
    • SWOT: An automotive company might have a strong brand reputation (Strength) but struggles with outdated manufacturing facilities (Weakness). The rise of self-driving cars presents an opportunity, while increasing fuel prices pose a threat.
    • Porter’s Five Forces: The luxury car segment has a high barrier to entry due to the capital-intensive nature and brand loyalty.
  • Food and Beverage Industry:
    • PESTEL: Changing dietary preferences (Social) lead to an increase in demand for gluten-free products.
    • SWOT: A food company might excel in organic products (Strength) but might not have a broad distribution network (Weakness). The vegan market could be a potential opportunity, but threats arise from numerous local competitors.
    • Porter’s Five Forces: The bottled water industry sees high competition and a threat of substitutes from filtration systems.
  • Fashion Industry:
    • PESTEL: Sustainable and ethical production (Environmental/Legal) becomes a major focus for fashion brands.
    • SWOT: A fashion brand might be known for its iconic designs (Strength), but its limited online presence (Weakness) could hinder growth. Expansion into new regions offers opportunities, but fast-fashion competitors are potential threats.
    • Porter’s Five Forces: Luxury fashion houses face low threats from new entrants due to high brand loyalty and significant capital requirements.
  • Healthcare Industry:
    • PESTEL: Aging populations (Social) in many western countries increase the demand for healthcare services.
    • SWOT: A hospital’s state-of-the-art equipment might be its strength, but shortage of skilled personnel could be a weakness. Telemedicine offers a growing opportunity, but threats come from regulatory changes.
    • Porter’s Five Forces: The pharmaceutical industry sees high competition but also has high barriers due to strict regulations and the need for extensive R&D.
  • Travel and Tourism:
    • PESTEL: Geopolitical tensions (Political) can decrease travel to specific regions.
    • SWOT: A travel agency might have an extensive global network (Strength), but its reliance on offline bookings might be a drawback (Weakness). The rise of experiential travel offers opportunities, while threats come from online travel aggregators.
    • Porter’s Five Forces: The airline industry sees intense rivalry, but the high capital requirement and regulations make the threat of new entrants relatively low.

Key Highlights:

  • PESTEL Analysis:
    • Assesses macro-economic factors influencing an industry.
    • Focuses on Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental, and Legal factors.
    • Helps organizations identify external threats and opportunities.
  • SWOT Analysis:
    • Evaluates an organization’s internal Strengths and Weaknesses and external Opportunities and Threats.
    • Aids in strategic planning and decision-making.
    • Provides a comprehensive view of the organization’s current situation.
  • Porter’s Five Forces:
    • Analyzes industry-specific factors to gauge competitive intensity.
    • Considers bargaining power of buyers/suppliers, threat of new entrants/substitutes, and competitive rivalry.
    • Enables development of competitive strategies.
  • Similarities:
    • All three are strategic analysis tools.
    • Primarily focus on external factors.
    • Provide a holistic understanding of the business landscape.
  • Differences:
    • PESTEL focuses on macro-economic factors.
    • SWOT addresses both internal and external elements.
    • Porter’s Five Forces zeroes in on industry-specific competitive forces.
  • Integration:
    • PESTEL can extend SWOT for deeper insights into macro-trends.
    • SWOT complements PESTEL by addressing internal capabilities.
    • Porter’s Five Forces, when used with PESTEL and SWOT, offers a rounded understanding of industry dynamics.
  • Applications:
    • PESTEL identifies impacts of macro-environmental factors.
    • SWOT aids in strategic planning.
    • Porter’s Five Forces helps understand the competitive landscape.
  • Overall:
    • Using these models together enables organizations to position themselves strategically, plan effectively, and execute informed decisions in a competitive market.

Read Next: Porter’s Five ForcesPESTEL Analysis, SWOT, Porter’s Diamond ModelAnsoffTechnology Adoption CurveTOWSSOARBalanced ScorecardOKRAgile MethodologyValue PropositionVTDF Framework.

Connected Strategy Frameworks


The ADKAR model is a management tool designed to assist employees and businesses in transitioning through organizational change. To maximize the chances of employees embracing change, the ADKAR model was developed by author and engineer Jeff Hiatt in 2003. The model seeks to guide people through the change process and importantly, ensure that people do not revert to habitual ways of operating after some time has passed.

Ansoff Matrix

You can use the Ansoff Matrix as a strategic framework to understand what growth strategy is more suited based on the market context. Developed by mathematician and business manager Igor Ansoff, it assumes a growth strategy can be derived from whether the market is new or existing, and whether the product is new or existing.

Business Model Canvas

The business model canvas is a framework proposed by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur in Busines Model Generation enabling the design of business models through nine building blocks comprising: key partners, key activities, value propositions, customer relationships, customer segments, critical resources, channels, cost structure, and revenue streams.

Lean Startup Canvas

The lean startup canvas is an adaptation by Ash Maurya of the business model canvas by Alexander Osterwalder, which adds a layer that focuses on problems, solutions, key metrics, unfair advantage based, and a unique value proposition. Thus, starting from mastering the problem rather than the solution.

Blitzscaling Canvas

The Blitzscaling business model canvas is a model based on the concept of Blitzscaling, which is a particular process of massive growth under uncertainty, and that prioritizes speed over efficiency and focuses on market domination to create a first-scaler advantage in a scenario of uncertainty.

Blue Ocean Strategy

A blue ocean is a strategy where the boundaries of existing markets are redefined, and new uncontested markets are created. At its core, there is value innovation, for which uncontested markets are created, where competition is made irrelevant. And the cost-value trade-off is broken. Thus, companies following a blue ocean strategy offer much more value at a lower cost for the end customers.

Business Analysis Framework

Business analysis is a research discipline that helps driving change within an organization by identifying the key elements and processes that drive value. Business analysis can also be used in Identifying new business opportunities or how to take advantage of existing business opportunities to grow your business in the marketplace.

BCG Matrix

In the 1970s, Bruce D. Henderson, founder of the Boston Consulting Group, came up with The Product Portfolio (aka BCG Matrix, or Growth-share Matrix), which would look at a successful business product portfolio based on potential growth and market shares. It divided products into four main categories: cash cows, pets (dogs), question marks, and stars.

Balanced Scorecard

First proposed by accounting academic Robert Kaplan, the balanced scorecard is a management system that allows an organization to focus on big-picture strategic goals. The four perspectives of the balanced scorecard include financial, customer, business process, and organizational capacity. From there, according to the balanced scorecard, it’s possible to have a holistic view of the business.

Blue Ocean Strategy 

A blue ocean is a strategy where the boundaries of existing markets are redefined, and new uncontested markets are created. At its core, there is value innovation, for which uncontested markets are created, where competition is made irrelevant. And the cost-value trade-off is broken. Thus, companies following a blue ocean strategy offer much more value at a lower cost for the end customers.

GAP Analysis

A gap analysis helps an organization assess its alignment with strategic objectives to determine whether the current execution is in line with the company’s mission and long-term vision. Gap analyses then help reach a target performance by assisting organizations to use their resources better. A good gap analysis is a powerful tool to improve execution.

GE McKinsey Model

The GE McKinsey Matrix was developed in the 1970s after General Electric asked its consultant McKinsey to develop a portfolio management model. This matrix is a strategy tool that provides guidance on how a corporation should prioritize its investments among its business units, leading to three possible scenarios: invest, protect, harvest, and divest.

McKinsey 7-S Model

The McKinsey 7-S Model was developed in the late 1970s by Robert Waterman and Thomas Peters, who were consultants at McKinsey & Company. Waterman and Peters created seven key internal elements that inform a business of how well positioned it is to achieve its goals, based on three hard elements and four soft elements.

McKinsey’s Seven Degrees

McKinsey’s Seven Degrees of Freedom for Growth is a strategy tool. Developed by partners at McKinsey and Company, the tool helps businesses understand which opportunities will contribute to expansion, and therefore it helps to prioritize those initiatives.

McKinsey Horizon Model

The McKinsey Horizon Model helps a business focus on innovation and growth. The model is a strategy framework divided into three broad categories, otherwise known as horizons. Thus, the framework is sometimes referred to as McKinsey’s Three Horizons of Growth.

Porter’s Five Forces

Porter’s Five Forces is a model that helps organizations to gain a better understanding of their industries and competition. Published for the first time by Professor Michael Porter in his book “Competitive Strategy” in the 1980s. The model breaks down industries and markets by analyzing them through five forces.

Porter’s Generic Strategies

According to Michael Porter, a competitive advantage, in a given industry could be pursued in two key ways: low cost (cost leadership), or differentiation. A third generic strategy is focus. According to Porter a failure to do so would end up stuck in the middle scenario, where the company will not retain a long-term competitive advantage.

Porter’s Value Chain Model

In his 1985 book Competitive Advantage, Porter explains that a value chain is a collection of processes that a company performs to create value for its consumers. As a result, he asserts that value chain analysis is directly linked to competitive advantage. Porter’s Value Chain Model is a strategic management tool developed by Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter. The tool analyses a company’s value chain – defined as the combination of processes that the company uses to make money.

Porter’s Diamond Model

Porter’s Diamond Model is a diamond-shaped framework that explains why specific industries in a nation become internationally competitive while those in other nations do not. The model was first published in Michael Porter’s 1990 book The Competitive Advantage of Nations. This framework looks at the firm strategy, structure/rivalry, factor conditions, demand conditions, related and supporting industries.

SWOT Analysis

A SWOT Analysis is a framework used for evaluating the business‘s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It can aid in identifying the problematic areas of your business so that you can maximize your opportunities. It will also alert you to the challenges your organization might face in the future.

PESTEL Analysis


Scenario Planning

Businesses use scenario planning to make assumptions on future events and how their respective business environments may change in response to those future events. Therefore, scenario planning identifies specific uncertainties – or different realities and how they might affect future business operations. Scenario planning attempts at better strategic decision making by avoiding two pitfalls: underprediction, and overprediction.

STEEPLE Analysis

The STEEPLE analysis is a variation of the STEEP analysis. Where the step analysis comprises socio-cultural, technological, economic, environmental/ecological, and political factors as the base of the analysis. The STEEPLE analysis adds other two factors such as Legal and Ethical.

SWOT Analysis

A SWOT Analysis is a framework used for evaluating the business’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It can aid in identifying the problematic areas of your business so that you can maximize your opportunities. It will also alert you to the challenges your organization might face in the future.

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