BCG Matrix: Definition And 10 Examples to Use In 2024

Editorial Team
18 Min Read

The BCG Matrix, often abbreviated as the Boston-Consulting Group growth-share matrix, is a management tool used by the management tool and the analyst community to help plan and research products and business units according to the relevant market share and growth. While there are a plethora of products or services introduced in the market, the struggle to find what is suited for your business constantly increases.

In this article, we will look at a model called BCG Matrix and its 10 best examples for reference by getting you to think about the potential risks of each option and devise the most suitable plan according to your situation.

What is a BCG Matrix?

BCG Matrix, abbreviated as Boston Consulting Group’s growth-share Matrix, was drafted by a BCG employee, Alan Zakon, who later developed the Matrix with his fellow workers. As a result, in the late 1980s, it has given half of Fortune companies used the tool to research their source of investors. With substantial growth in the eras, the Boston Consulting Group growth share matrix has given a generation of marketers and business leaders a quick and simple way to think about the risks of growth.

Commonly known as BCG Matrix, it shows a dual based on relative market share that you can substantially use to accelerate your business growth. At the same time, each one of them helps to analyze the risk associated with each one.

The Four Components Of the BCG Matrix

Let’s examine each quadrant of the Boston-Consulting Group growth-share matrix in more detail:

BCG Matrix: Cash Cows

Although not the riskiest among the four quadrants, Cash Cow’s outcomes feature a high market share and a lower market growth. Such products are market leaders and hold the capacity of producer reviews which is larger than they require to run a business.

Related to settled, safe, and mature products, Cash Cows introduce high barriers to entry and require a minimum investment to maintain market share.

Advantages of Cash Cows

  • Such assets give the resources to cover a business running charges, finance R&D, investments in new products, and distribute dividends to stakeholders.
  • With perfectly predictable cash flow patterns, it is convenient to find out their value.
  • Considered as Low Risk and high-reward investments

How to Manage: With a routine management approach, focus on these moneymaking assets to generate regular cash flow that you can later use to develop the stars

BCG Matrix: Dogs

Also termed pets, Dogs are business units or products with a poor market share and poor market growth. Featured at the end of the lifecycle, Dogs in the BCG Matrix often show relatively low performance. On the contrary, dogs has the ability to sustain themselves; they will never shift into the star quadrant owing to the product’s low or negative financial returns.

Riskiest of the four options, Dogs are cash traps owing to companies’ interest in them while it generate less or no revenue. Although firms prefer to rebrand, sell, or liquidate these business units, in exceptional cases, dogs tend to bring some amount of profit for an extended period. 

Advantages of Dogs

  • Since they are not candidates for investment, they can be sold
  • Can Exceptionally Bring Profit

How to Manage: Since dogs are low-performing assets, it should be preferred to eliminate them from the product portfolio. Additionally, stop investing money in them as they tend to utilize resources while not showing a pinch of profit.

BCG Matrix Question Mark

Also known as problem children or wild dogs, BCG Matrix Question Mark are assets that count under low market share that operate in a high growth market. While low-scale startups or small businesses often fall into this category. Question marks products demand financial resources and intensive investment to increase their market shares.

Advantages

  • If funded appropriately, they will turn from Question Marks to Stars; they are typically funded from cash flows from the cash cow quadrant.
  • They never go to waste. If the question mark fails to receive the fund, it will eventually turn into a dog.

How to Manage: Since negligence of question mark can turn them into a dog, try an appropriate investment for a better portfolio; an appropriate investment into a question mark transforms it into a star.

Stars in BCG Matrix

Counted as one of the best products among the four, Stars in BCG Matrix are services that are growing quickly and have substantial market share. Known as the market-leading products, investments in such services should be greater to retain their market position and maintain a competitive advantage.

Advantages

  • The greater it consumes, the greater will be the cash flow of stars in the BCG Matrix
  • As soon as the market matures and the product remains successful, it will turn into a star

10 Examples of BCG Matrix Updated in 2024

1. Coca Cola’s BCG Matrix

Coca Cola's BCG Matrix
A strategic analysis of CocaCola’s BCG Matrix

While the multinational beverage company tends to follow up several BCG’s categories, here are the instances

  • Diet Coke (Dogs): The brand’s introduced Minute Maid and Diet Coke fall into the Dog BCG Category. It was introduced when healthy beverages were a thing; however, sales declined within a short period of introduction.
  • Coca-Cola (Cash Cow): On the contrary, Coca-Cola, being the first preference when talked about soft drinks, has placed itself as BCG’s Cow Assets
  • Kinley, Maaza, and Thumbs-Up (Stars): These beverages, which earned popularity in regions like India and Europe, fall under the stars category owing to their popularity in limited regions
  • Fanta and Sprite (Question Mark): Placed in the BCG Matrix’s Question mark assets, Fanta and Sprite have not gained prominence as Coca-Cola. However, it has earned considerable sales in many parts of the world.

2. Nike

Nike BCG matrix
A BCG Matrix of Nike

Prominent for its footwear, here are the categorized BCG matrix for each of them,

  • SkateBoard (Dogs): Nike is the house to some of the best skateboards and related accessories. Nevertheless, it has ranked dog owing to its declining popularity.
  • Footwear(Cash Cow). For more than 25 years, Nike’s footwear has been the epitome of Comfort and comes under the Cow’s BCG category.
  • Jordan, Converse, and Hurley (Question Mark): Initially, Converse gained popularity; however, since the rival brands succeeded in snatching some of the customers, these fall under the question mark category

3. Starbucks

Starbucks BCG matrix
Visuall representation of Starbucks’ BCG Matrix

This American multinational chain of coffeehouses, Starbucks, features different levels of Matrix such as,

  • Packed Cofee Beans (Dogs): Manufactured by Starbucks itself, they fall under the dog category owing to its fewer sales
  • Cups (Cash Cow): On the other hand, its customized cups come under cow BCG Matrix and its sales increase in festivity.
  • Tea (Question Mark): Since Starbucks is renowned for its coffee, it falls under the Question mark BCG matrix.

4. Disney

Disney BCG matrix
A visualisation of Walt Disney’s BCG Matrix
  • Consumer Products (Dogs): Owing to COVID-19 and other related, Walt Disney’s consumer products fall under the BCG Matrix’s dog category.
  • Theme Parks (Cash Cow): On the contrary, Walt Disney’s theme parks located in California, Orlando, Hawaii, Hong Kong, Paris, and Shanghai rank under the BCG’s Cow matrix owing to their widespread anticipation and popularity
  • Streaming (Question Mark): Besides the multinational streaming giants, which include ABC, Disney+, ESPN, The Disney Channel, and Hulu, come under the Question Mark BCG matrix owing to their inability to maintain a fixed status.

5. Apple

Apple BCG matrix
A visual graph of Apple’s BCG Stats

While the American multinational has earned a significant status in the global market, BCG’s stats are,

  • iPods (Dogs): Released initially, iPods maintain a dog BCG matrix owing to its limited demand and sales globally
  • Macbook, iMac, and other products (Cash Cow): On the contrary, several products, including the Macbook and iPod, fall under the BCG Cow’s Matrix. Additionally, these products have only seen a surge in recent years.

6. Samsung

Samsung BCG matrix
A visualisation of Samsung BCG’s matrix

Another manufacturing conglomerate, Samsung, has substantially maintained several products under each category.

  • Smart Phones (Star): With considerable sales, Samsung Smartphones fall under the Star Category and have a higher chance of entering into the Cows BCG matrix.
  • Appliances (Cows): Several appliances, including washing machines, fall under the BCG Category of Cows owing to the relative number of sales.
  • Question Marks (Question Mark): As mentioned by a credible source, Samsung smartwatches are under the Question Mark category of BCG. Nevertheless, with a surge in sales in recent years, it will come under the category of BCG Cows.
  • Printers (Dogs): For a relative instance, printers lack in sales owing to less popularity and fall under the Dogs BCG Matrix.

7. Google

Google BCG matrix
A graph on how BCG Has categorised Google products

A popularised search engine, here are the stats,

  • YouTube (Stars): A flagship product, the video-sharing application YouTube falls under the Stars BCG matrix.
  • Google Search & Ads (Cash Cows): Falls under the Cows BCG matrix; Google Search is used by the world’s 70 per cent population. With the availability of devices from smartphones to personal computers, Google Search remains constant under this category.
  • Drive & Docs (Question Mark): Falls under the “Question Mark BCG matrix.” Drive & Docs has higher potential; however, it lacks among its competitors.
  • Google Play (Dogs): Although not a complete failure, Google Play is barely used by the search engine user. Since YouTube has already been an alternative to Google Play, it barely received users owing to the application laying under the “BCG’s Dogs category.”

8. Nestle

Nestle BCG matrix
A short-visual graph of Nestle’s BCG Matrix

The Strategic analysis of its products is,

  • Nescafe (Stars): Owing to a buyer market worldwide, Nestle’s Nescafe became a huge hit, hence garnering a substantial market. Besides, this beverage comes under the BCG’s section of Stars Assets.
  • Kitkat ( Cash Cows): With significant buyers in Asia, Nestle’s KitKat never saw a degradation and hence secures a position among “BCG’s Cow Categorisation.”
  • Nesquik (Question Mark): Nestle’s dairy products, including Nesquik, are dilemma products and need higher investments. Hence, this falls under the “BCG Question Mark.”
  • Nestea (Dogs): With minimum popularity and sales, Nestkke products like Nestea failed to make a place in the market, hence leading to fall under the BCG’s Dogs category.

9. Unilever

Unilever BCG matrix

The strategic analysis for Unilever products is,

  • Lux, Fair&Lovely (Stars): Although an old product, lux and Fair&Lovely (now Glow&Lovely) have made a huge grip in the worldwide market. Owing to its substantial growth, it falls under the category “Stars.”
  • LifeBuoy (Question Mark): Although it went on to generate huge sales in the Indian market, it slowly lost its credibility owing to which it ranked under the “BCG Question Mark.”
  • Surf Excel& Lipton (Cash Cows): Among several other established products is Surf Excel and Lipton, which has made a great impact in the Asian markets.
  • Comfort (Dogs): Since products like Comfort are barely made to popular products, it has been listed under the Dogs matrix.

10. McDonald’s

McDonald BCG matrix
Here’s how McDonald’s product has positioned itself in Stars, Question Marks, Cash Cow, and Dog categories of BCG Matrix

Last but not least, we have the strategic analysis of McDonalds:

  • Burgers (Stars): Some of McDonald’s signature burgers have set a market standard, hence falling under the BCG “Stars” category.
  • Hash Browns (Question Mark): Some of its recently introduced products like “Hash Browns and Mc Flurry” have seen a rise; however, their impact remains questionable. Owing to this, it has been listed under the BCG Matrix “Question Mark.”
  • Fries (Cows): McDonald’s fries and chicken nuggets have been in the market for ages and are still popular among enthusiasts. Owing to this, it has been listed under “Cows.”
  • McDonald’s Apple Pie (Dogs): Barely made its name among McDonald’s products, its apple pie has been listed under the “Dogs BCG Matrix.”

How to Draft a BCG Matrix? Steps-By-Steps

Since BCG Matrix and its products are listed under four slots, we have brought a sequence on how to make a diagram of BCG Matrix. Check below;

Opt For a Suitable Product

While the BCG matrix serves to assist business units, firms, and companies, you have to choose between them. While we prefer to choose a reputed or easily searchable brand, try opting for any brand/firm you prefer.

Characterize the Market

A wrong-defined market can lead to a poor characterization of your BCG Matrix. For example, if we choose Mercedes Benz in the travel vehicle market, it will be counted among the Dogs. Nevertheless, it would be a cash cow when characterized by the extravagant vehicle market.

Result of the Relative Market Share

Market Share is the level of the complete market taken into account, calculated either in income terms or unit volume terms. According to BCG,

“Relative Market Share = Product’s business this year/Leading opponent’s business this year.”

Pick the Business Development Rate

As the Boston matrix suggests, the market development rate can be easily found through multiple online sources. According to BCG, to find out the business development rate, we have to,

Market development rate was typically given side-effects (business this year – Product’s business a year ago)/Product’s business a year ago.

Draw a Matrix

After following the steps mentioned earlier, make sure that you draw a matrix by putting up the data of BCG analysis and detailing it in the required section.

Conclusion

In essence, it is worth noting that BCG Matrix is not only for multinational companies or established businesses. Startups or small-scale companies can equally benefit from the BCG Matrix by focusing on the several categories or margins introduced by BCG. Not only BCG’s categorization will establish a foothold in the market, but it will also build a loyal customer base.

Hence, the BCG growth matrix model is a viable too to evaluate your business’s success categories and identify unique opportunities for substantial growth. By focusing on your company’s management, you can strengthen your relationship with target customers, raise your market share, and gain profitability. Besides, for a detailed explanation of “What is BCG”, you can check our guide mentioned above.

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