Industry Analysis Frameworks: PESTLE, SWOT, and Porter’s Five Forces

Sally Armstrong

Frameworks for Conducting Industry Analysis

It is important you are familiar with three commonly used industry analysis frameworks. The three frameworks are:


  • SWOT

  • Porter’s Five Forces

The PESTLE and SWOT analysis were first introduced to you in the Company Research module but they are equally relevant to industry research. These frameworks are helpful tools that you can return to each time you are conducting industry research as they help you to understand how an industry is currently operating and the competitive dynamics.

A PESTLE analysis assesses six external influences on a company: Political, Economic, Social, Technology, Legal, and Environmental. This framework is well suited to the idea stage for a company as it allows you to gain an understanding of the external environment to identify a potential opportunity for your company.

This video provides additional details on factors to consider when researching the six external influences:

A SWOT analysis stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It helps you clearly lay out the positives and negatives associated with a potential business strategy and helps you decide the best decision to move forward.

This video provides a great overview of a SWOT analysis and an example of how to complete one:

Porter’s Five Forces is a framework that identifies and analyzes five competitive forces that shape every industry and helps to explain why various industries are able to sustain different levels of profitability. The five forces are:

  • Competition in the industry

  • Potential of new entrants into the industry

  • Power of suppliers

  • Power of customers

  • Threat of substitute products

Here is a short video from Harvard Business Review explaining the five forces:

Databases to Find a SWOT Analysis

There are a handful of databases at the library that provide information to support a SWOT analysis. A few were already covered in the Finding a SWOT Analysis section of the Company Research module. The most robust coverage is through Business Source Ultimate and their coverage of MarketLine SWOT Analysis reports.

On the main search page of Business Source Ultimate, scroll down to the Search Options section and under Publication Type find SWOT Analysis (as shown in the screenshot below). If you are searching for a specific company you can add the name to the search box. If not, you can select Search to see the entire list of SWOT Analysis reports available through Business Source Ultimate.

As you can see, there are over 58,000 results for SWOT Analysis reports. You can select PDF Full Text to view the entire SWOT Analysis report (as shown in the screenshot below).

IBISWorld has a brief SWOT in the Industry summary in every Industry at a Glance section of their reports. While this is not as detailed as the reports you can find in Business Source Ultimate, it helps to give you an idea of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats you can further research on your own.

Lastly, Statista Industry Reports (only available for the United States) have a small section on risk assessment that addresses strengths and weaknesses. From the Statista homepage, do a search for SWOT and select a report from the list.

Below is an example of what you will find in a Statista Industry Report for a SWOT analysis.


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Business Information Skills Certificate (BISC): Research Guide Copyright © 2023 by Sally Armstrong is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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