PEST analysis

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PEST analysis ("Political, Economic, Social and Technological") describes a framework of macro-environmental factors used in the environmental scanning component of strategic management. It is a part of the external analysis when conducting a strategic analysis or doing market research, and gives an overview of the different macro-environmental factors that the company has to take into consideration. It is a useful strategic tool for understanding market growth or decline, business position, potential and direction for operations.

The growing importance of environmental or ecological factors in the first decade of the 21st century have given rise to green business and encouraged widespread use of an updated version of the PEST framework. STEER analysis systematically considers Socio-cultural, Technological, Economic, Ecological, and Regulatory factors.

Other variants of the mnemonic include "Legal" to make SLEPT; inserting Environmental factors expands it to PESTEL or PESTLE, which is popular in the United Kingdom;[1] or, inserting "Intercultural" factors expanded SLEPT to SPELIT, which has been popular in the United States since the mid-2000s.[2] The model has recently[when?] been further extended to STEEPLE and STEEPLED, adding "Ethics" and "Demographic" factors.


The basic PEST analysis includes four factors:

  • Economic factors include economic growth, interest rates, exchange rates, the inflation rate. These factors greatly affect how businesses operate and make decisions. For example, interest rates affect a firm's cost of capital and would therefore to what extent a business grows and expands. Exchange rates can affect the costs of exporting goods and the supply and price of imported goods in an economy.
  • Social factors include the cultural aspects and health consciousness, population growth rate, age distribution, career attitudes and emphasis on safety. High trends in social factors affect the demand for a company's products and how that company operates. For example, the aging 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 social trends caused from this (such as recruiting older workers).

Expanding the analysis to PESTLE or PESTEL adds:

  • Environmental factors include ecological and environmental aspects such as weather, climate, and climate change, which may especially affect industries such as tourism, farming, and insurance. Furthermore, growing awareness of the potential impacts of climate change is affecting how companies operate and the products they offer, both creating new markets and diminishing or destroying existing ones.

Other factors for the various offshoots include:

  • Demographic factors include gender, age, ethnicity, knowledge of languages, disabilities, mobility, home ownership, employment status, religious belief or practice, culture and tradition, living standards and income level.
  • Regulatory factors include acts of parliament and associated regulations, international and national standards, local government by-laws, and mechanisms to monitor and ensure compliance with these.

More factors discussed in the SPELIT Power Matrix include:

  • Intercultural factors considers collaboration in a global setting.
  • Other specialized factors discussed in chapter 10 of the SPELIT Power Matrix include the Ethical, Educational, Physical, Religious, and Security environments. The security environment may include either personal, company, or national security.
  • Other business-related factors that might be considered in an environmental analysis include Competition, Demographics, Ecological, Geographical, Historical, Organizational, and Temporal (schedule).[3]

Applicability of the factors[edit]

The model's factors will vary in importance to a given company based on its industry and the goods it produces. For example, consumer and B2B companies tend to be more affected by the social factors, while a global defense contractor would tend to be more affected by political factors. Additionally, factors that are more likely to change in the future or more relevant to a given company will carry greater importance. For example, a company which has borrowed heavily will need to focus more on the economic factors (especially interest rates).

Furthermore, conglomerate companies who produce a wide range of products (such as Sony, Disney, or BP) may find it more useful to analyze one department of its company at a time with the PESTEL model, thus focusing on the specific factors relevant to that one department. A company may also wish to divide factors into geographical relevance, such as local, national, and global.

Use of PEST analysis with other models[edit]

The PEST factors, combined with external micro-environmental factors and internal drivers, can be classified as opportunities and threats in a SWOT analysis. A graphical method for PEST analysis called 'PESTLEWeb' has been developed at Henley Business School in the UK. Research has shown that PESTLEWeb diagrams are considered by users to be more logical, rational and convincing than traditional PEST analysis.[4][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ PESTLE analysis history and application, CIPD. Retrieved 2009-10-21.
  2. ^ [1], SPELIT Power Matrix. Retrieved 2015-08-21.
  3. ^ [2], Ch 28 of Education Applications & Developments. Retrieved 2015-08-21.
  4. ^ Collins, Rob. "A Graphical Method for Exploring the Business Environment" (PDF). Retrieved 19 June 2014. 
  5. ^ Collins, Rob. "Is there a better way to analyse the business environment?" (PDF). Retrieved 19 June 2014. 

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