Boston Matrix (BCG Matrix): Definition, Advantages and Disadvantages, Common Issues


The BCG Matrix, a market analysis tool by Boston Consulting Group, evaluates market share and growth rate of business units to guide strategy.

What is the Boston Consulting Group's Growth-Share Matrix (BCG Matrix)?

The Growth-Share Matrix by the Boston Consulting Group, also known as the BCG Matrix, is a market analysis tool used to evaluate a company's portfolio of products or business units in terms of their relative market share and market growth rate, thereby offering strategic guidance.

The BCG Growth-Share Matrix evaluates the performance of products or business units based on two dimensions:

  1. Market Growth Rate: This refers to the annual growth rate of the market in which it operates. High growth markets typically offer more opportunities, while low growth markets may be saturated or highly competitive.
  2. Relative Market Share: This refers to the ratio of a company's product or business unit's market share compared to its largest competitor. A higher relative market share may indicate a stronger competitive advantage in the market.

The BCG Matrix categorizes products or business units into four quadrants:

  1. Stars: Positioned in high-growth markets with a large relative market share. They have both high growth and high market share and are considered strategic priorities for the company, requiring more resources for market share expansion.
  2. Question Marks: Positioned in high-growth markets but with a small relative market share. They face market uncertainty and competitive challenges, requiring extensive research and development and marketing to increase market share.
  3. Cash Cows: Positioned in low-growth markets but with a large relative market share. They hold a stable market share in mature markets, generating steady cash flow to support other products or business units.
  4. Dogs: Positioned in low-growth markets with a small relative market share. They face challenges with low growth and low market share, often struggling to generate significant profits, which might necessitate decisions on whether to continue, reduce costs, or exit the market.

By categorizing products or business units, the BCG Matrix provides a reference for strategic decision-making. It encourages companies to invest in high-growth markets and optimize resource allocation for sustained growth and maximization of profits. However, the matrix serves as one of many decision-making tools, and companies should also consider other factors such as market trends, competitive landscape, and resource availability.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the BCG Matrix

As a market analysis tool, the BCG Matrix offers the following advantages and disadvantages:


  • Simplicity and Intuitiveness: The BCG Matrix provides an intuitive way to evaluate the relative market share and market growth rate of products or business units and their positioning within the portfolio.
  • Strategic Guidance: Its categorization can offer strategic guidance, helping decision-makers identify which products or business units should be the focus of development, investment, and management to achieve sustained growth and profit.
  • Resource Allocation: It helps companies optimize resource allocation by focusing resources on potential stars and question marks, while providing a steady cash flow from other units.


  • Two-Dimensional Limitation: The BCG Matrix evaluates based on only two dimensions, relative market share and market growth rate, neglecting other important factors such as competitiveness, market trends, and technological changes.
  • Dependence on Data: The accuracy and effectiveness of the matrix depend on reliable market and business data. Inaccurate or incomplete data can distort the analysis.
  • Static View: The BCG Matrix offers a static view, overlooking the dynamics of the market and competition. Market share and growth rates may change over time, requiring periodic updates and reassessment.
  • General Guidance: The matrix provides general guidance applicable at a macro level of strategic decision-making. Detailed analysis and assessment are still needed for specific products or business units.

Despite its limitations, the BCG Matrix remains a popular market analysis tool, providing a framework for thinking about product portfolio development and strategic planning. However, when using the BCG Matrix, companies should be aware of its limitations and combine it with other analysis methods and field research for a more comprehensive and accurate decision-making process.

Frequently Asked Questions About the BCG Matrix

When it comes to the Boston Consulting Group’s Growth-Share Matrix, here are some common questions and their answers:

Which types of companies is the BCG Matrix suitable for?

The BCG Matrix is suitable for various types of companies, including those of different sizes and industries. It can be used to evaluate product portfolios, business units, or market segments, providing guidance for strategic planning.

What are the advantages of the BCG Matrix?

The advantages of the BCG Matrix include its simplicity and intuitiveness, provision of strategic guidance, help in optimizing resource allocation, and offering an overview of the product portfolio. It helps business decision-makers quickly understand the performance of business units and formulate strategic directions.

Does the BCG Matrix have limitations?

Yes, the BCG Matrix has some limitations. It evaluates based only on two dimensions—relative market share and market growth rate—neglecting other factors such as competitiveness, market trends, and technological changes. Also, the results of the matrix are static, requiring regular updates and reassessment.

How does the BCG Matrix help companies make investment decisions?

The BCG Matrix helps companies identify which products or business units have the potential to increase market share and require significant investment. By focusing resources on stars and question marks, companies can achieve growth and optimize investment returns.

Can the BCG Matrix be applied to the service industry?

Yes, the BCG Matrix is not only applicable to product industries but can also be applied to the service industry. In services, relative market share can be understood as market share, and market growth rate can be assessed based on industry trends and demand changes.

How can the BCG Matrix be used in conjunction with other market analysis tools?

The BCG Matrix can be used in conjunction with other market analysis tools, such as SWOT analysis, value chain analysis, and market trend analysis, among others. Using a combination of different tools can provide more comprehensive market insights and strategic decision support.

Please note that the BCG Matrix is just one of many strategic tools, and companies should consider their own situations and industry characteristics, combining it with other analysis methods for a comprehensive evaluation and decision-making.

Risk Warning and Disclaimer

The market carries risks, and investment should be cautious. This article does not constitute personal investment advice and has not taken into account individual users' specific investment goals, financial situations, or needs. Users should consider whether any opinions, viewpoints, or conclusions in this article are suitable for their particular circumstances. Investing based on this is at one's own responsibility.

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Boston Matrix

The Boston Matrix, also known as the Growth-Share Matrix, is a tool used to analyze and assess the relative competitive position and growth potential of different products or business units in the market.

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