Competitive analysis

Yaroslav Zhmikhov
Yaroslav Zhmikhov
112 October, 26, 2021 3 min read
112 October, 26, 2021 3 min read


A process that will help you evaluate direct and indirect competitors to get a complete picture of their strengths and weaknesses which will help you gain a competitive advantage over them.

Competitors are divided into 3 main groups:

  • Primary (direct) are companies that target the same audience or have similar products or services, such as Apple Music and Spotify.
  • Secondary are companies that are selling similar products or services in the same category, but differently (e.g. with less functionality), such as Axure RP and Figma.
  • Tertiary (indirect) are companies that are not your direct competitors but may become such in the future in case you expand the line of products or services, e.g. Kodak and Sony.

Competitive analysis is the process of defining competitors and evaluating their strategies that will help identify their strengths and weaknesses in relation to your own products or services.

An example of competitive analysis for an online e-learning platform

Purpose of competitive analysis

To evaluate all weak points and strengths of the competitors, identify threats and gaps in products and services, and find new business opportunities in order to gain a competitive advantage.

Value for the team

Will help understand which services and functionality are using the competitors, make a heuristic evaluation of them in order to find possible mistakes, and evaluate the usability.

Value for business

Thorough competitive analysis will help businesses create the best offers and products on the market.


  • Preparation: up to 30 minutes
  • Main activity: from 2 to 4 hours to evaluate each competitor

Creating process:

Step 1. In case of success of thorough research, you can find ready-made secondary data for the required industry, which will include market research, but it also needs to be rechecked.

Step 2. Stakeholders are a very important source of knowledge because most of them do a lot of marketing research before contacting a specific company. Therefore, it is necessary to ask who they consider as competitors and why they think so.

Step 3. Prepare a list of keywords for search queries that are related to the industry you want to analyze.

Step 4. is the first starting point. All search queries must be sent in ‘incognito’ mode so that the search engine does not take into account your previous search queries. Also, check out “Ads” from time to time.

Step 5. Also, SimilarwebCrunchbase, and Trustpilot are great services for competitors' research.

Step 6. Make a list of services or important functionality that you want to compare, and then fill in the table, analyzing the convenience of the functionality (Legend):

  1. Absence - 0 points.
  2. Poorly implemented - 1 point.
  3. Normally implemented - 2 points.
  4. Perfectly implemented - 3 points.
  5. The best among competitors.
  6. Worse than ours.

Note. You can compose Legend yourself, or use existing Heuristic evaluation.

Example: Competitive analysis

Relevant links:

Thank you very much to all the authors! This article would not exist without you