Competitive analysis [tasks, methods, goals]

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In view of the constantly increasing challenges of global markets, it is of fundamental importance for companies to obtain detailed information about competitors appearing on the market in the form of an analysis of the competition.

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The results of such studies provide an important basis for business decisions.

This article brings everything you need to know about the tool of competitive analysis and highlights related Strategies and methods.

The professional competitive analysis - how to optimize your competitiveness!

Rising costs as well as a through DigitizationThe increased competitive pressure resulting from the globalization of the economy, online trading and globalization is exacerbating the situation for companies in the battle for market share.
From this point of view, it is important to provide information on Strategiesmarket position, product quality and the objectives of competitors.
This facilitates strategic corporate planning as well as Marketing campaigns and sales agendas are effectively supported and backed up with facts.

What is meant by a competitive analysis?

Within market research, competitive analysis is part of strategic market analysis; it lists and evaluates those methods, instruments and StrategiesThe company's business model is based on the tools with which competitors operate in the marketplace and which are used to achieve their business objectives.
In this way, it is possible to not only create new Strategic planningbut also for product management and for Marketing and sales tasks gain valuable insights. In terms of practical implementation, a distinction is made between strategic and operational competitive analysis.

Differentiation from competitor analysis and market analysis

Although competitive analysis, like competitor analysis, is a classic component of market analysis, competitive analysis is sometimes used in the literature as a generic term for the areas of market analysis and competitor analysis.
Since the individual areas of analysis are fundamentally closely interwoven, the equal-ranking use of the terms "competitive analysis, market analysis and competitor analysis" can also be observed, and thematic overlaps also occur.

Definition of competition analysis

Competitor analysis involves gathering comprehensive information about competitors, preparing it and - ideally using special analysis tools - evaluating it from a strategic point of view. The results serve as a decision-making basis for the corporate strategy to be selected or for possible investors as well as a basis for internal activities in the area of operative business.
A high-quality competitor analysis not only provides information on the number, market shares and products of the competition, but also draws a strength/weakness profile of the competitors.
The following points must be dealt with as part of the competitor analysis:
  • Number and characterization of real and potential competitors
  • Market position?
  • Who is the market leader?
  • Quality of competing products?
  • Unique selling proposition?
  • Sales channels?
  • Price structure?
  • Discount systems?
  • Payment and delivery terms?
  • Services?
  • Image of competing companies and their brands?
  • Competitor target groups?
  • Type and scope of the advertising measures?

Definition of market analysis

In market research, market analysis describes the systematic and objective analysis of a defined market at a specific point in time using concrete figures and data. It provides the company with facts about market volume and potential as well as market development, market shares and customer structure. Furthermore, it provides information about general conditions such as the economic situation, legal regulations or prevailing trends.

The market analysis also provides information on whether the target market is suitable for achieving a sufficient sales volume or which measures are recommended to increase sales opportunities.

Conducting a market analysis always requires the existence of a precise definition and description of the intended target group.

Market analysis includes the following aspects:

  • Market potential of products or services
  • Market volume
  • Market development
  • Market segmentation by region/country, customer or product group
  • Distribution channels, logistics
  • Competitor analysis
  • Product Life Cycle Analysis

Tasks and goals of the competitive analysis

A well-founded analysis of the competitive situation should be carried out for the first time when a company is founded and subsequently repeated annually. It essentially has the task of, Strategies and objectives of competitors and to predict their behavior, e.g. in the event of market changes. It also serves to optimize the company's own strategic orientation and market performance.

Other areas of application include clarifying which competitors are present on the market, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and determining the general competitive intensity of the market.

Once the analysis has been completed, the company's own positioning should be clear and its chances of success on the market can be realistically assessed.

A professional analysis of the competition answers the following questions, among others:

  • What is the bargaining power of the competition or their customers & suppliers?
  • What scope for action exists in view of current Strategies the competitor?
  • Do market niches exist, and if so, which ones?
  • Do innovative products or services have chances on the market?
  • Which Marketing Strategies are promising?

Methods of competitive analysis

Basically one distinguishes between operational and strategic Competitive Analysis.

Operational competitive analysis

Common methods here are:

  • Product comparisons - These are assessments with a high level of detail, the evaluation of comments made, and benchmarking approaches taking into account qualitative and quantitative criteria.
  • Product advantages - Unique selling propositions and other product benefits are used as selling points against competing products.
  • Positioning papers - These contain statements on competitors' activities (e.g. introduction of new products), summaries of relevant key points, event reports, descriptions of the consequences for the market situation and the company itself, decisions to be taken and other recommendations (e.g. preparation of an adequate counter-position).
  • Activities against competitors - In this context, the company's own strengths are underlined with well-founded arguments, criticism is refuted, and internal weaknesses and the advantages of the competition are played down.

Strategic competitive analysis

Methods used:

  • Industry Analysis - This tool is used to examine entire industries or sectors of the economy and present the respective market leaders in a kind of portfolio in matrix form. This consists of various categories to which any number of individual criteria can be assigned. Through objective evaluation and weighting of these criteria, a total value is obtained for each category, which can be visualized in diagram form.
  • Company profiling - Basic company data as well as the company history of competing companies are listed in profile form, with individual strengths and weaknesses accentuated accordingly.
  • Competitive comparison - This method is based on a number of defined factors such as corporate strategy, market share or product quality and allows reliable conclusions to be drawn about performance advantages or the individual need to catch up with the competition. A distinction is made between comparisons of strategy- and success-related criteria such as product characteristics, market position or price structure, performance comparisons focusing on financial indicators such as sales, liquidity and operating profit, and market position comparisons which analyze the market share-related ranking of competitors in a defined market environment.

Excursus: The SWOT analysis: helpful tool for creating your own and others' strength/weakness profiles

The SWOT analysis (SWOT = Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) is a powerful tool in market research and is used to identify and evaluate own Strategies optimally based on existing strengths and weaknesses and to obtain detailed information about competitors.

SWOT analysis


SWOT analysis consists of internal and external factors:

  • Inner factors: strengths (strengths) and weaknesses (weaknesses)
  • External Factors: Opportunities and Threats

The factors are analyzed and evaluated in terms of their individual opportunities and risks.

A properly conducted SWOT analysis answers the following questions:

  • Which individual strengths does the company use to take advantage of which opportunities?
  • What specific assets does the company use to minimize which risks?
  • Which individual weaknesses does the company reduce in order to exploit which opportunities?
  • What specific weaknesses is the company working on to prevent what risks?
  • What is the fundamental opportunity/risk profile in the target market?


In times of increasing market competition, rising cost pressure and growing globalization and digitization-related challenges, a professional and regular analysis of the competition is an essential element of any business strategy.

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This enables the company to react adequately to market modifications and changes in competitive behavior. Divided into a operational as well as a strategic area, the competitive analysis creates clarity about StrategiesThe analysis provides a valuable basis for decision-making on the strategic orientation of your own company and for targeted activities in the area of Marketing and distribution.

Carried out annually, the competitive analysis helps to maintain the competitiveness of one's own company.


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