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Competitor Analysis: Identify and Exploit Market Gaps

It’s essential to understand your competition and identify opportunities to differentiate your brand. By conducting a competitive analysis, you can uncover your unique business proposition, determine the most effective positioning for your brand, and develop strategies to outperform your competitors. 

Past Data:

In the early 2000s, only 20% of small businesses used online tools for competitive analysis, compared to 60% of large enterprises.*


Present Trend:

A 2021 survey by Crayon found that 41% of companies have increased their investment in competitive analysis since the COVID-19 pandemic began.*

Future Forecast:

Forrester predicts that by 2030, companies that leverage competitive analysis will have a 50% higher market capitalisation than those that do not.*

Competitive Analysis


   Competitive analysis is a strategic process that involves evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of current and potential competitors in a specific market or industry. By conducting a thorough competitive analysis, businesses can gain valuable insights into their own market position, identify areas for improvement, and uncover untapped opportunities for growth and differentiation (Fleisher & Bensoussan, 2015). This process enables companies to make informed decisions about their products, services, pricing, marketing, and overall business strategy, ultimately leading to a sustainable competitive advantage.

   A comprehensive competitive analysis typically includes researching competitors’ products, services, pricing strategies, marketing tactics, and customer base. This information is then used to develop a clear understanding of the competitive landscape and to identify gaps in the market that can be exploited to gain a competitive advantage (Bergen & Peteraf, 2002).

   Competitive analysis involves evaluating several key elements to gain a comprehensive understanding of the market landscape. These elements include an examination of competitors’ products and services, where businesses assess the features, quality, and variety offered. Pricing strategies are also scrutinized, analyzing how competitors price their products, their discount strategies, and the perceived value they provide. Marketing tactics are reviewed, including branding, advertising campaigns, content marketing, social media presence, and public relations activities. Additionally, understanding the customer base of competitors—demographics, preferences, and behaviors—provides crucial insights.

   Other critical elements include assessing distribution channels to understand how competitors deliver their products, whether through online platforms or retail partnerships. Financial performance is evaluated by examining competitors’ revenue, profit margins, and market share. Technological capabilities are analyzed to understand the innovation and technology used by competitors. 

Competitive Analysis
Brief history:

The concept of competitive analysis has its roots in the field of strategic management, which emerged as a distinct discipline in the 1960s. Early works by influential thinkers such as Michael Porter and Bruce Henderson emphasized the importance of understanding the competitive environment and developing strategies to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage (Porter, 1980; Henderson, 1989). Porter’s seminal work, “Competitive Strategy,” introduced the five forces framework, which became a foundational tool for analyzing industry structure and competitive dynamics.

   Over the years, competitive analysis has evolved to incorporate new tools and techniques, such as the SWOT analysis, benchmarking, and the resource-based view of the firm. With the advent of the internet and the proliferation of online data sources, competitive analysis has become more data-driven and accessible to businesses of all sizes (Prescott, 1995; Wright, Eid, & Fleisher, 2009). Today, competitive analysis is an essential component of strategic decision-making, enabling businesses to navigate the complexities of the modern marketplace and stay ahead of the competition.

Competitive Analysis

Data and insights:

   Recent studies have highlighted the growing importance of competitive analysis in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing business environment. A survey by Crayon (2020) found that 94% of businesses believe that competitive intelligence is critical to their success, with 61% reporting that they have dedicated competitive intelligence teams. This demonstrates the increasing recognition among businesses of the value of competitive analysis in driving growth and profitability.

   Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of competitive analysis practices, as businesses seek to navigate the uncertainties and disruptions caused by the crisis. A study by Cipher (2021) revealed that 72% of companies have increased their investment in competitive intelligence since the onset of the pandemic, with a focus on monitoring changes in customer behavior and identifying new growth opportunities. This suggests that businesses are turning to competitive analysis as a key tool for adapting to the challenges posed by the pandemic and positioning themselves for long-term success.

Competitive Analysis

Real world success:

   One notable example of a company that has successfully leveraged competitive analysis to gain a market advantage is Netflix. By closely monitoring the strategies and offerings of its competitors, such as Blockbuster and HBO, Netflix was able to identify gaps in the market and develop a disruptive business model based on online streaming and original content production. Through continuous competitive analysis, Netflix has stayed ahead of the curve, anticipating changes in consumer preferences and technological advancements. This approach has enabled Netflix to become a dominant player in the entertainment industry, with over 200 million subscribers worldwide (Sim, 2020).

   For a hypothetical medium-sized Australian company, competitive analysis could be used to identify untapped niches in the domestic market. For example, a company specializing in high-level services could conduct a thorough analysis of its competitors’ offerings, pricing, and marketing strategies. By identifying gaps in the market, such as a lack of premium, turn-key solutions, the company could develop and launch a new service targeting time-poor clients. Through continuous monitoring of competitor activities and consumer trends, the company could refine its strategy, adapt to changing market conditions, and establish itself as a leader in a sub-niche of their market.

Competitive Analysis

Future trends:

   As the business landscape continues to evolve, competitive analysis is expected to become increasingly data-driven and technology-enabled. The proliferation of big data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning will enable companies to process and analyze vast amounts of competitive information in real-time, allowing for more accurate and timely decision-making (Calof, Richards, & Santilli, 2017). This will enable businesses to quickly identify emerging trends, anticipate competitor moves, and adapt their strategies accordingly.

   Additionally, the growing importance of digital channels and social media will necessitate a greater focus on monitoring and analyzing online competitor activity, such as customer reviews, social media sentiment, and digital marketing campaigns (Bose, 2008). As more consumers turn to online platforms for product research and purchase decisions, businesses will need to leverage competitive analysis to optimize their digital presence, engage with customers, and build brand loyalty. By staying attuned to the evolving digital landscape and using competitive analysis to inform their online strategies, businesses can position themselves for success in the digital age.

Competitive Analysis

Getting started:

  To get started with competitive analysis, businesses should first define their objectives and identify the key competitors they wish to analyze. This can be done by conducting market research, monitoring industry publications and events, and leveraging online tools such as Google Alerts and social media monitoring platforms. It is essential to cast a wide net and consider not only direct competitors but also potential substitutes and emerging players that could disrupt the market.

   Once the competitors have been identified, businesses should gather and organize relevant data, such as financial reports, product offerings, pricing strategies, and customer reviews. This information can then be used to conduct a SWOT analysis, benchmarking, and other analytical techniques to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Based on these insights, businesses can develop targeted strategies to exploit market gaps, improve their competitive position, and drive growth (Fleisher & Bensoussan, 2015). By continuously monitoring competitor activities and market trends, businesses can refine their strategies and stay ahead of the competition in an ever-changing business landscape.


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Fleisher, C. S., & Bensoussan, B. E. (2015). Business and Competitive Analysis: Effective Application of New and Classic Methods (2nd ed.). Pearson FT Press. Link

Bergen, M., & Peteraf, M. A. (2002). Competitor Identification and Competitor Analysis: A Broad-Based Managerial Approach. Managerial and Decision Economics, 23(4-5), 157-169. DOI

Porter, M. E. (1980). Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors. Free Press. Link

Henderson, B. D. (1989). The Origin of Strategy. Harvard Business Review, 67(6), 139-143. Link

Prescott, J. E. (1995). The Evolution of Competitive Intelligence. International Review of Strategic Management, 6, 71-90. Link

Wright, S., Eid, E. R., & Fleisher, C. S. (2009). Competitive Intelligence in Practice: Empirical Evidence from the UK Retail Banking Sector. Journal of Marketing Management, 25(9-10), 941-964. DOI

Crayon. (2020). The State of Competitive Intelligence 2020. Link

Cipher. (2021). The Impact of COVID-19 on Competitive Intelligence Practices. Link

Sim, G. (2020). Netflix: A Case Study in Strategic Management. Harvard Business Review. Link

Calof, J., Richards, G., & Santilli, P. (2017). Competitive Intelligence and Strategy Development: An Integrated Approach. Journal of Intelligence Studies in Business, 7(3), 5-17. Link

Bose, R. (2008). Competitive Intelligence Process and Tools for Intelligence Analysis. Industrial Management & Data Systems, 108(4), 510-528. DOI

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Guide: Competitor Analysis

Study Your Market, Secure your Strategic Advantage 

In today’s fast-paced and ever-evolving business environment, understanding the competitive landscape is more crucial than ever. Conducting a detailed competitive analysis enables businesses to discover untapped market opportunities and secure a strategic advantage. This guide will lead you through a systematic process to thoroughly examine your competitors, identify market gaps, and harness these insights to stimulate growth and innovation within your organisation.

Benefits for your organisation

The following are expected benefits when applying these resources in your organisation.

Benefits of Competitor Analysis:

Increased Operational Efficiency:

Allows companies to benchmark their performance against competitors, identifying areas of strength and weakness which can lead to targeted operational improvements.

Increase customer loyalty:

By continuously analysing competitive landscapes and adjusting business strategies, companies can achieve market leadership, staying ahead of competitors in innovation.

Improve your marketing ROI

By targeting the right audience with personalized messaging and offers, you can increase the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and achieve a higher return on investment.

How to get started

The following steps are designed to provide an actionable framework for improving your organisation and implementing new systems.

How to create a Competitor Analysis:

Define your market and competitors

Clearly identifying your target market and key competitors is essential for effective competitive analysis. For example, a boutique service provider would focus on local businesses and individuals seeking personalised, high-quality services. 

Gather competitor data

Collect relevant information on your competitors’ products, services, pricing, marketing strategies, and customer feedback. Utilise online resources, such as company websites, social media, and customer review platforms. Example: Analyse competitors’ pricing, and reviews on Google.

Conduct a SWOT analysis

Assess your competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT). Identify areas where you can differentiate your offerings and exploit market gaps. Example: A strength could be a competitor’s strong brand recognition, while a weakness might be their limited product range.


Analyse customer needs

Understand your target customers’ needs, preferences, and pain points. Identify areas where your competitors are failing to meet customer expectations. Example: Conduct surveys or focus groups to gather insights on customer preferences for service options.


Identify market gaps

Based on your competitor analysis and customer insights, identify untapped market segments, underserved customer needs, or emerging trends. Example: Discover a growing demand for your service and similar services that your competitors are not offering.


Develop and implement strategies

Create targeted strategies to exploit identified market gaps and differentiate your offerings. Continuously monitor and adapt your strategies based on market changes and competitor activities.


Technical Tips

We are always looking for better systems, tools and technology. Learn what we have learned, to make your organisation more effective.

Competitive Analysis

Technical Tips:

   Ensuring your business is listed on local directories like Google My Business, Yelp, and industry-specific directories is crucial for local SEO. Tools like Moz Local or BrightLocal can help manage and optimize these listings for accuracy and relevance. Regularly reviewing competitors’ websites with tools like BuiltWith or Wappalyzer provides insights into their digital strategies, revealing areas where you can innovate. Accessing industry reports and market research through platforms like IBISWorld, Statista, or local chambers of commerce offers valuable data on market trends, competitor performance, and customer behavior specific to your industry.

   Gathering client feedback through surveys using tools like SurveyMonkey or Typeform helps understand what clients value and areas needing improvement. Attending industry conferences, trade shows, and local business networking events offers opportunities to observe competitors, understand their strategies, and build relationships. Financial benchmarking is essential; for publicly traded competitors, analyze financial statements via Yahoo Finance or MarketWatch, and for private companies, refer to industry benchmarks from organizations like the SBA. Local market analysis with tools like Esri Business Analyst or local government resources provides data on economic conditions and demographic trends. Finally, competitive intelligence software like Crayon or Klue tracks and analyzes competitors’ moves, ensuring you stay updated on their strategies and tactics.

Questions & Answers

These questions and answers provide information that may not fit into other areas or categories. If you want more information or have questions you would like to ask, please feel free to reach out.

Market Analysis Questions and Answers:

How do I identify my true competitors?

Market segmentation: Break down your market by demographics, psychographics, and needs to identify businesses that are competing for the same customer segments.
Product comparison: Compare your products and services with those offered by others to determine who provides similar value propositions and benefits to the same customer base.
Online research: Use online tools and platforms to track which companies rank for similar keywords, get mentioned in related contexts, and are frequently compared against in industry forums and discussions.

What tools can assist in performing effective competitive analysis?

SWOT Analysis Tools: Tools like MindTools and Biggerplate help structure your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis for clarity and comprehensive insights.
Digital Analytics Software: Use Google Analytics, SEMrush, or Ahrefs to track competitors’ online presence, keyword effectiveness, and digital marketing strategies.
Social Listening Platforms: Platforms like Brandwatch or Hootsuite Insights allow you to monitor brand mentions, customer sentiment, and engagement strategies across social media, providing insights into competitors’ performance and audience reception.

How do I identify market gaps through competitive analysis?

Customer feedback and reviews: Analyse customer feedback on your competitors’ products and services to identify common pain points or dissatisfaction areas.
Trend analysis: Stay updated with industry trends and emerging technologies. Use tools like Google Trends or industry reports to anticipate future market needs that competitors are currently overlooking.
Benchmarking performance: Compare key performance metrics like customer service response time, product quality, and pricing. Gaps in these areas can represent market opportunities.

How can my business exploit identified market gaps effectively?

Innovate and improve: Develop new products or enhance existing offerings that address the shortcomings of your competitors. Focus on quality, usability, and innovation.
Marketing differentiation: Create compelling marketing campaigns that highlight the unique aspects of your products or services, especially those aspects that address the identified market gaps.
Strategic partnerships: Form alliances with other companies to combine strengths in a way that better serves the market’s unmet needs, thereby creating a competitive advantage.

What are the common pitfalls in competitive analysis and how can I avoid them?

Overlooking niche competitors: Don’t just focus on major players. Niche and emerging competitors can provide significant insights into market trends and innovative approaches.
Static analysis: Market dynamics constantly evolve; regularly update your competitive analysis to maintain its relevance and effectiveness.
Bias in data interpretation: Ensure objectivity in your analysis by involving diverse team members in the process and considering multiple data sources to validate your findings.

How often should competitive analysis be conducted and updated?

Regular intervals: Conduct a full competitive analysis at least annually, with quarterly or bi-annual reviews depending on the pace of your industry.
Trigger events: Update your analysis more frequently in response to significant market changes such as new entrants, disruptive technologies, or major shifts in consumer behaviour.
Continuous monitoring: Keep a continuous watch on key competitors and industry trends through alerts and real-time data tracking to ensure timely responses to any critical market changes.


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