PESTEL analysis stands for “Political, Economic, Social, and Technological, Environmental and Legal analysis”. It is a part of the external analysis when conducting a strategic analysis or doing market research and gives a certain overview of the different macro-environmental factors that the company has to take into consideration.
Political factors or how and to what degree a government intervenes in the economy. Specifically, political factors include areas such as tax policy, labor law, environmental law, trade restrictions, tariffs, and political stability. Political factors may also include goods and services which the government wants to provide or be provided and those that the government does not want to be provided. Furthermore, governments have great influence on the health, education, and infrastructure of a nation.
Economic factors – Businesses need to make money to continue to exist. They do this by listening to customers to ensure they keep their customers and attract new ones with good services that customers want and need. It is extremely important for businesses to respond to changes in demand from customers. They include economic growth, interest rates, exchange rates and the inflation rate. These factors have major impacts on how businesses operate and make decisions. For example, interest rates affect a firm’s cost of capital and therefore to what extent a business grows and expands. Exchange rates affect the costs of exporting goods and the supply and price of imported goods in an economy.
Social factors – Society’s habits and tastes are changing. People are more aware of the importance of the environment and becoming ‘green consumers’. Green consumers prefer goods and services that are ‘environmentally-friendly’ and which have less impact on the environment. They include the cultural aspects and include health consciousness, population growth rate, age distribution, career attitudes and emphasis on safety. Trends in social factors affect the demand for a company’s products and how that company operates. For example, an ageing population may imply a smaller and less-willing workforce (thus increasing the cost of labor). Furthermore, companies may change various management strategies to adapt to these social trends (such as recruiting older workers).
Technological factors – Businesses are continually developing new technologies to provide the best solutions for the market place. Intelligent companies find out what the most appropriate technologies are for their businesses and use them. They include ecological and environmental aspects, such as R&D activity, automation, technology incentives and the rate of technological change. They can determine barriers to entry, minimum efficient production level and influence outsourcing decisions. Furthermore, technological shifts can affect costs, quality, and lead to innovation.
Environmental factors – include weather, climate, and climate change, which may especially affect industries such as tourism, farming, and insurance. Furthermore, growing awareness to climate change is affecting how companies operate and the products they offer-it is both creating new markets and diminishing or destroying existing ones.
Legal factors – Legal changes that affect business are closely tied up with political ones. Many changes in the law stem from government policy. They include discrimination law, consumer law, antitrust law, employment law, and health and safety law. These factors can affect how a company operates, its costs, and the demand for its products.