What Is a Competitive Set?

Competitive set is a marketing term used to identify the principal group of competitors for a company. Competitive sets are used for benchmarking purposes, market penetration analyses and to help develop positioning strategies.

Competitive sets include a company’s competitors based on coverage area, similarity of product, service or market segment and shared customer demographics. These competitors can be other companies, brands or even internal divisions of the company defining the competitive set. Excluded are competitors that are deemed short-lived or seasonal. Competitive sets are dynamic lists that change as market forces and customer perceptions change. Ideally, a competitive set would include all competitors that a company’s clients are likely to go to as an alternative to the company.