Unilever Porter’s 5 Five Forces: 2022 Detailed Overview

Porter’s Five Forces Analysis of Unilever



Key Facts


Name Unilever Plc,
Industry FMCG
Founded 1929
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
CEOs Alan Jope
Revenues €52.44 billion (2021)
Profit €6.62 billion (2021)
Competitors  Nestle and Procter & Gamble



Company Overview


Unilever produces and markets consumer goods in the areas of personal care, hygiene, and nutrition. It works through the following divisions: Foods and Refreshment, Home Care, and Beauty and Personal Care. Sales of deodorants, oral care items, and skin and hair care products are all included in the beauty and personal care section. Sales of soups, bouillons, sauces, snacks, mayonnaise, salad dressings, margarines, and spreads are all included in the Foods and Refreshment section. The Home Care division is in charge of overseeing the sales of a variety of cleaning products, powders, liquids, and capsules, soap bars, and other home care items. The company’s headquarters are in London, United Kingdom, and it was founded on November 9, 1927. It is ranked 57th in the world.


Porter’s Five Forces Analysis


Porter’s Five Forces Analysis is a widely used model to evaluate companies’ strategies in reference to its industry for neutralizing the competition and increase the margins, it is developed by Professor Micheal E. Porter in 1979,at Harvard Business School.


Unilever Rivalry among Existing Competitor


Unilever: operates the food & refreshment, home care, and beauty & personal care categories. The business, which now has 400 brands, was founded in 1929 as a result of the combination of a soap manufacturer and a margarine manufacturer. The most well-known brands produced by Unilever include Lifebuoy, Dove, Axe, and Sunsilk. The Unilever Group was ranked as the fourth-largest FMCG firm in the world in terms of revenue . Personal care is Unilever’s largest revenue-generating area as It represents 42% of projected income for 2021 and has steadily increased from 35% of overall revenue in 2012. Home care will account for 20% of sales in 2021, down from the 47% it generated from the food segment in 2012. Geographically, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus account for 46% of income, up from 40% in 2012 and expanding over the past ten years. The US contributes 32% of the total, making it one of the largest contributors. 32% are from Europe.

With global beverage sales of almost 9.57 billion dollars, the Unilever Group is likewise listed as the top firm in this category. Among its most well-known food and beverage brands are Knorr and Lipton, with the former ranking among the most popular in European homes as of 2021. The company is a market leader in the frozen dessert sector as well. Ben & Jerry’s, its ice cream brand, recently achieved unit sales of almost 202 million in the United States alone, making it the most popular ice cream in that country.

Its total assets, revenue, and net income for the fiscal year (2021) are, respectively, €52.44, €6.62, and €75.10 billion. According to Annexure-I, in the previous ten years it generated €515.39 billion in revenue, placing it third among its rivals, and had a low average net profit ratio of 11% compared to them. The sales-to-assets ratio has decreased from 1.11 to 0.70 during the past ten years, while revenue has remained consistent with no discernible rise. Total investment has climbed dramatically from € 46.171 billion to € 75.10 billion.

Procter & Gamble: The largest firm in the world that manufactures consumer goods is Procter & Gamble, or P&G. It primarily produces goods for the cosmetics and personal care industries as well as products for the laundry and cleaning supplies markets. The corporation was established in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1837 by William Procter and James Gamble. In 2016, the company had global sales of 70.3 billion US dollars. Due to Procter & Gamble’s many billion-dollar brands in the consumer products sector, this income was produced. At that time, five of the company’s brands were among the top fifteen global personal care brands, with Gillette at the top with a brand value of roughly 15.1 billion dollars.In terms of advertising expenditures, Procter & Gamble ranks among the top companies globally. The business just spent about 7.33 billion dollars. Procter & Gamble invested 117 million dollars on the promotion of its Crest brand in the US alone in 2019.Its revenue, net income, and total assets are $76.12 billion, $14.04 billion, and $119.31 billion, respectively, for the fiscal year 2021. In relation to Annexure-I, It generated $739.13 billion in revenue in the last ten years, ranking second among its rivals, and had the highest average net profit ratio (14%), demonstrating its superiority in the market. Since 2015 until 2020, revenue has been on the decline, but in 2021 it picked up steam and generated $76.12 billion. However, investment in total assets has dropped from $132.24 billion to $119.31 billion, allowing it to retain the sales-to-assets ratio despite a decline in revenue.


Nestlé: As of 2020, Nestlé was by far the most valuable food brand in the world, with a brand value of about 19.4 billion US dollars. The largest manufacturer of fast-moving consumer products in the world according to net sales is the Swiss corporation Nestlé S.A. The net sales of Nestlé total more than 93 billion USD. With its global headquarters in Vevey, Switzerland, the business has about 276,000 employees. Nestlé provides products to a wide range of consumer markets because it is a multinational corporation. Most of the revenue comes from the Americas, which account for 44.9% of global sales, followed by Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. For the fiscal year 2021, Nestle expects to generate CHF87.09 billion in sales, CHF 17.20 billion in net income, and CHF 139.14 billion in total assets.

Regarding Annexure-I, it generated CHF 899.439 billion in income during the past ten years, which is the most among all competitors. Average net profit margin was 12%, while FY 2021 had the greatest net profit margin of the previous ten years at 20%. Like all of its rivals, revenue has been consistent and has witnessed significant growth over the past decade, but investment in total assets has climbed from CHF 126.23 billion to CHF 139.14 billion, which has reduced revenue. investment in CHF decreased from 0.73 to 0.63.


Unilever Threat of New Entrants


Established Distribution channels: Top FMCG companies Unilever, Proctor & Gamble, and Nestle were established back in 1927, 1837, and 1866, respectively. They have developed a supply chain that is difficult for new competitors to emulate, acting as a barrier. To assist small retailers in meeting the evolving needs of today’s consumers, Unilever expanded e-business-to-business (eB2B) platforms co-created and owned by Unilever, such as Shikhar in India, Compra Agora in Brazil, and GoToko in Indonesia, only in 2021.To reach half of the 4.7 million small stores in the Asia, Latin America, and Africa areas we directly serve, they have acquired thousands of new consumers each month. In addition, they give many of our smaller clients access to things like cashless payments and extended payment terms, which enable them to make more money and keep their shelves stocked.

High Capital Investment: To reach half of the 4.7 million small stores in the Asia, Latin America, and Africa areas we directly serve, they have acquired thousands of new consumers each month. In addition, they give many of our smaller clients access to things like cashless payments and extended payment terms, which enable them to make more money and keep their shelves stocked.

Consolidation of Business: Acquisitions of rival companies and other relevant business actors dramatically lessen business rivalry. It is challenging to grow as big as Unilever, P&G, and Nestle because of the constant acquisitions Unilever has made, which has greatly reduced competition. Unilever purchased Nutrafol, a well-known supplier of hair wellness products, in 2022. Paula’s Choice, a leader in science-backed products and direct to consumer online shopping, was bought in 2021. And in the past, numerous acquisitions were made in order to maintain market dominance.


Unilever Bargaining Power of Suppliers


With 53,000 supplier partners spread over 150 nations, Unilever is able to obtain resources and receive essential services with less influence from suppliers. Although Unilever has substantial suppliers, such as international companies that provide paper and oil, the typical supplier is of a moderate size. This outside element exerts an effect on the environment of the consumer products industry of moderate intensity.


Unilever Bargaining Power of Buyers


  • Brand Loyalty: 13 brands owned by Unilever generate sales of more than €1 billion. Over half of its overall turnover is comprised of them collectively. In total, they increased by 6.4% last year. There were some especially impressive individual performances in this. For instance, Dove experienced its strongest growth in eight years, growing by 8%; Hellmann’s increased by 11%; and our ice cream brands Magnum and Ben & Jerry’s both experienced growth of 7%.
  • Wide range of Product: Due to Unilever’s wide variety of products, which is evidenced by the fact that it owns 400 brands, customer power is diminished.


Unilever Threat of Substitute Products or Services


  • Online sales: Online sales could emerge as a significant new market in the upcoming year, posing challenges for current companies and potentially offering some sort of substitute. But Unilever acknowledged it and began to take action by investing in the skills required to be a leader in channels of the future. Today, that includes succeeding in the e-commerce space, and in 2021, following a year of record-breaking growth, we produced another excellent year. The overall e-commerce market increased by 44%, with growth seen across all key sub-channels, including pure-play, Omni channel, and business-to-business (eB2B). This channel’s share of our revenue increased from 2% in 2011 to 13% in 2021 in just five years. In 2021, its e-commerce sales increased by 44% and currently account for 13% of our revenue.
  • High Product Differentiation: Unilever owns brands that are highly recognized and differentiated in the mind of its customers e.g, Dove, LifeBuoy, Lux,Sunsilk, Vaseline ,Knorr, Wall’s. That’s why only Dove sales grew to $5 billion in 2021 and reaching all time high.




Unilever ( All in € billion )


Year 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 Total
Revenue 51.324 49.797 48.436 53.272 52.713 53.715 50.982 51.98 50.724 52.444 515.387
Net income 4.48 4.842 5.171 4.909 5.184 6.053 9.389 5.625 5.581 6.621 57.855
Net Profit Ratio 9% 10% 11% 9% 10% 11% 18% 11% 11% 13% 11%
Assets 46.17 45.51 48.03     52.30 56.43 62.06 61.11 64.81 67.66             75.10  
Sales to Assets Ratio       1.11       1.09       1.01       1.02       0.93       0.87       0.83       0.80       0.75               0.70  


Proctor & Gamble ( All in $ billion )

Year 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 Total
Revenue     83.68     84.17     83.06     76.28     65.30     65.06     66.83     67.68     70.95             76.12   739.13
Net income     10.50     11.07     11.39       6.78     10.51     15.33       9.75       3.90     12.76             14.04   106.02
Net Profit Ratio 13% 13% 14% 9% 16% 24% 15% 6% 18% 18% 14%
Assets   132.24   139.26   144.27   129.50   127.14   120.41   118.31   115.10   120.70           119.31  
Sales to Assets Ratio       0.63       0.60       0.58       0.59       0.51       0.54       0.56       0.59       0.59               0.64  


Nestle ( All in CHF billion )

Year 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 Total
Revenue 92.186 92.158 91.612 88.785 89.469 89.791 91.439 92.568 84.343 87.088 899.439
Net income 10.611 10.015 14.456 9.066 8.531 7.183 10.135 12.609 12.232 17.196 112.034
Net Profit Ratio 12% 11% 16% 10% 10% 8% 11% 14% 15% 20% 12%
Assets   126.23   120.44   133.45   123.99   131.90   130.38   137.02   127.94   124.03           139.14  
Sales to Assets Ratio       0.73       0.77       0.69       0.72       0.68       0.69       0.67       0.72       0.68               0.63  





  1. Forbes, Profile, Unilever Plc
  2. Fortune 500, Unilever profile
  3. Archive of Unilever Annual Report and Accounts see link at Unilever
  4. Unilever – Statistics & Facts available at Statista
  5. Procter & Gamble – Statistics & FactsStatista
  6. Nestlé – statistics & factsStatista
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  9. Annual reportsP&G
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  11. Most valuable food brands worldwide in 2021, based on brand value(in million U.S. dollars) Statista
  12. Acquisitions and disposals | Unilever

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