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BCG Growth-Share Matrix


The BCG Growth-Share Matrix is a strategic planning tool developed by the Boston Consulting Group that visually represents a company’s product portfolio. It segments a company’s products into four categories: Stars, Cash Cows, Question Marks, and Dogs, based on market growth rate and relative market share. This matrix helps companies allocate resources and is used as an analytical tool in brand marketing, product management, strategic management, and portfolio analysis.


The phonetics for the keyword “BCG Growth-Share Matrix” can be transcribed as:B: /biː/C: /siː/G: /dʒiː/Growth: /groʊθ/Share: /ʃɛər/Matrix: /ˈmeɪtrɪks/So combined, it is /biː siː dʒiː groʊθ-ʃɛər ˈmeɪtrɪks/ in the International Phonetic Alphabet.

Key Takeaways

<ol><li><strong>Portfolio Planning Tool:</strong> The BCG Growth-Share Matrix is a portfolio planning tool that helps organizations assess the growth prospects and market share of its product lines or business units. It allows for strategic decision-making in focusing investments in areas that offer the best return.</li><li><strong>Four Categories:</strong> The matrix highlights four categories for classifying business units – Stars (high growth and market share), Cash Cows (low growth, high market share), Dogs (low growth, low market share), and Question Marks (high growth, low market share). Each category represents different levels of resource allocation and investment.</li> <li><strong>Guiding Business Strategy:</strong> On the basis of the matrix, businesses can develop their strategies. For instance, they can invest in Stars and Question Marks while ensuring sustainable profits from Cash Cows and considering divestment from the Dogs. This aids in striking a balance between maintaining older profitable products and investing in new potential winners.</li></ol>


The BCG Growth-Share Matrix is an important business and finance tool because it provides a framework for allocating resources among different business units and allows for strategic planning and prioritization. It categorizes a company’s business units or products into four categories: stars, cash cows, dogs, and question marks based on their growth rates and market shares. This matrix aids in the assessment of the strategic position of a company’s product portfolio, identifies opportunities for growth and investment, and uncovers potential risks. It is fundamental in assisting businesses in understanding their products’ positions in the market, thus enabling more informed decision-making processes.


The primary purpose of the BCG Growth-Share Matrix is for corporations to aid in their decision-making processes related to resource allocation and strategic planning. Developed by the Boston Consulting Group in the 1970s, this matrix tool is used to assess the market performance of a company’s product portfolio in terms of growth potential and market share. It provides a simple, visual way of evaluating a company’s brands or business units, in order to prioritize investments among them. By plotting various products or businesses on the matrix, decision-makers can identify where resources can deliver the greatest returns.The BCG Growth-Share Matrix essentially helps in identifying the potential of a company’s products depending on two dimensions: market growth and market share. High growth products are termed ‘Stars’ (high market share, high growth), ‘Question Marks’ (low market share, high growth), ‘Cash Cows’ (high market share, low growth), or ‘Dogs’ (low market share, low growth). These categorizations can provide valuable insights into the competitive positioning of the company’s offerings and indicate the strategic steps that should be taken to maximize profit. Be it an attempt to leverage the potential of the stars, invest in question marks, milk the cash cows, or phase out the dogs, the matrix guides management actions based on the individual product position.


Example 1: Apple Inc. Apple Inc. can use the BCG Growth-Share Matrix in analyzing its various product lines. In this scenario, the iPhone represents a ‘star’ as it has high market share and growth compared to most of its competitors. The iPad might be considered a ‘cash cow’ because it maintains a steady market share with low growth rate. On the other hand, Apple watches can be classified as a ‘question mark’ because they have potential for growth, but a lower market share. Products like the iPod which are not as popular as before and have low growth rate and market share may be considered as ‘dogs’.Example 2: Coca-Cola Company In the case of Coca-Cola, its classic Coca-Cola drink can be considered as the ‘cash cow’ as it has a large market share but slow growth rate due to market saturation. Dasani, on the other hand, could be considered a ‘question mark’ , as bottled water market is growing but it faces high competition. Coca-Cola Energy, the energy drink variant introduced more recently, could be a ‘star’ with its growing popularity and potential market share. Older and less popular beverages like Tab may be ‘dogs’ due to their low growth rate and market share.Example 3: Procter & Gamble Procter & Gamble (P&G), the multinational consumer goods corporation, can use the BCG growth-share matrix to analyze its numerous brands across multiple segments. Brands like Tide and Crest, which have a high market share but a low growth rate, are considered ‘cash cows’. Newer or less popular brands with potential but not yet high market share might be viewed as ‘question marks’. Brands like Gillette, which has high market share and growth rate, can be seen as ‘stars’. Brands that are not performing well, with low market share and growth rate, would be termed as ‘dogs’.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is the BCG Growth-Share Matrix?

The BCG Growth-Share Matrix is a strategic tool designed by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) that provides a visual representation of a company’s product portfolio or offerings based on market growth and relative market share.

How are the four categories in a BCG Growth-Share Matrix named?

The four categories are named as Stars, Cash Cows, Question Marks, and Dogs.

What do Stars represent in the BCG Growth-Share Matrix?

Stars are products or business units with high market share in high-growth industries. They have the potential to become Cash Cows if sustained properly.

What are Cash Cows in the BCG matrix?

Cash Cows are products or business units that have high market share in low growth industries. They are mature, successful businesses that provide a steady cash flow.

What does the term ‘Question Marks’ mean in the BCG Matrix?

Question Marks are businesses or products with low market share but high growth prospects. They have the potential to become Stars or fade away depending on their market performance.

What are Dogs according to the BCG Matrix?

Dogs are units or products with both low market share and low market growth. These are considered as less promising as they neither generate nor consume large amounts of cash.

Why do companies use the BCG Growth-Share Matrix?

Companies use this matrix to analyze their product line and to devise strategies for growth. It helps them to prioritize their focus on the basis of market share and market growth.

What kind of strategic decisions can be made using the BCG Matrix?

Companies can use the BCG Growth-Share Matrix to decide whether to divest, invest, or continue the status quo by evaluating their products or business units.

Can the BCG Growth-Share Matrix be applied to any kind of company?

While the BCG Matrix was originally developed for large corporations with a diversified product line, it can still be useful for smaller companies with adjustments made to accommodate their unique circumstances.

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