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What’s the parameter that we use to assess whether an industry is attractive or not

Anonymous A


lets say that we want to enter a market in X industry. How do you make a parameter so that the hypothesis the industry is attractive is true? I can just think about market growth and market share is high enough depending on each case. Do you have any other suggestions?

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Francesco replied on 08/07/2018
#1 Expert for coaching sessions (1700+) | Ex BCG | 850+ reviews with 100% recommendation rate

Hi Anonymous,

this is how I would structure a market entry analysis.

Market Entry Analysis Structure

1) GOAL CLARIFICATION. It is always good to start with the end in mind – thus what is the specific reason why you want to enter the market? Is it revenues, profits, specific synergies or something else?

2) INDUSTRY. There are three macrovariables here.

  1. Barriers to entry. This includes regulation or technology requirements.
  2. Key industry numbers. This includes for the market and potential subsegments the analysis for the following elements:
    • Growth of the market/segment
    • Size of the market/segment
  3. Key industry players. This includes:
    • Type of customers
    • Competitors concentration
    • Occasionally for some cases: suppliers (if they have market power) and substitutes (if competitors are weak)

You should present this area connecting with the goal, and not purely listing the elements to analyse as if it was a laundry list. The best way to do so is explain how a certain variable will help you to achieve you goal. Eg, if your goal is to increase revenues, don’t simply say “I want to look at growth, size and BTE”, rather “I want to look at growth and size – this will tell me if the market has the potential to provide enough revenues for our client. I would also like to check BTE, to understand which are the obstacles in entering such a market and thus increase revenues”.

3) BEST WAY TO ENTER. Once you know the industry is attractive, you should consider the entry options.

  • Which are the possible ways to enter the market? Usually you should consider (i) starting from scratch; (ii) M&A; (iii) Joint Venture or licencing
  • Which option meets better our capabilities to enter the market? Each specific way to enter will require some different capabilities. If you start from scratch you may need skilled people in all the phases of the value chain; if you buy another company you may need less people, but more upfront capital, etc.

4) COMPANY - TARGET OBJECTIVE FEASIBILITY. Once you verified you can enter the industry, you can move to check the fit between the client and the selected industry.

  • Are there positive or negative synergies in such industry?
  • Can our specific client reach its objective in the selected market (eg profits, revenues, market share, etc)?

In the second point, you will probably have to go through a profitability/revenue/cost framework, to calculate the effective result.

5) RISKS AND NEXT STEPS. What are the major elements that we should further analyse based on the previous points (eg regulator decision, unexpected competitor reactions, potential wrong pricing in the new market, etc)?

Hope this helps,


replied on 08/07/2018
McKinsey Engagement Manager & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 50+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi Anonymous,

assuming that we talk about a for-profit company, there is one single metric to decide on whether entering a market makes economic sense or not: Value creation!

The additional value expected from entering a market has to exceed the corresponding investment over a the company's target investment horizon (which is usually determined by the best alternative options of investing the corresponding money and resources). Moreover, required capabilities should be disposable and risks need to be manageable.

This additional value then needs to be logically and rigorously disaggregated into its drivers and sub-drivers (by means of a logic tree), and there will be a multitude of elements which influence these drivers and sub-drivers (market development and competitive dynamics are just a very small part of it).

As always - when you approach such a situation, it is about the LOGIC and the RIGOROUS THINKING FRAME. You should NEVER start by stating something like "I would like to look at the following 4 areas: ...". This was maybe sufficient 10 years ago when Victor Cheng et al. brought forward their business situation "frameworks", but nowadays this is just highlightsing the fact that a candidate is not thinking rigorously enough and rather hopes to find interesting insights within pre-conceived framework buckets.

Cheers, Sidi


Vlad replied on 08/07/2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School


There is a lot of things that are still unclear about your question.

Always start with clarifying an objective:

  1. What are we going to achieve on the market and what is the timeline?
  2. What are our business model and revenue streams now in the current market / industry?
  3. Are we going to enter organically or non-organically?

Then I would use the following structure:

Market / industry

  • Size
  • Growth rates
  • Profitability
  • Segments and growth rates
  • Distribution channels
  • Bareers (regulation)


  • Market shares of competitors and their segments (see the next point)
  • Concentration / fragmentation (A fragmented market with lots of small players is less mature and easier to enter from a scratch. Concentrated market is hard to enter but has potential acquisition targets)
  • Unit economics of the players (Margins, relative cost position)
  • Key capabilities of the players (e.g. suppliers, assets, IP, etc)
  • Previous / projected entrants

Company (If the case says you have the company that operates in a different / adjacent market)

  • Your current capabilities (e.g. suppliers, assets, IP, etc)
  • Brand
  • Previous experience in entering the markets

Entry strategy

  • The need for investments
  • Time to enter
  • Branding (Do we keep an existing brand / do sub-brand if it is the new segment or create a new brand?)
  • The existence of acquisition / licensing / JV targets if relevant
  • Risks

Good luck!


Benjamin replied on 08/07/2018
ex-Manager - Natural and challenging teacher - Taylor case solving, no framework

To conclude on an industry attractiveness, multiple dimensions should be evaluted, depending on the context :

- market (or specfifc segment )size

- Growth (past and futur projection if possible)

- competitive environment (very concentrated vs. atomized) and intensity

- profitability

- customer volatility

- Barriers to entry

- various risk (substitution, regulation, etc.)