In the absence of excessive regulation or anti-competitive practices, industries are observed to evolve toward an optimal market structure called the Rule of Three. This entails that a market with three full-line generalist firms that are volume-driven and with numerous successful small specialists that are margin-driven. In their new book, The Global Rule of Three, Can Uslay, Associate Professor of Marketing at the Rutgers Business School; Jagdish Sheth, Professor of Marketing at the Goizueta School of Business at Emory University; Raj Sisodia is Professor of Global Business at Babson College argue that even after industries globalize, the Rule of Three prevails.
When a market expands from local to regional or from regional to national or from national to global, there are usually shakeouts and mergers in the industry and only three volume-driven players survive as regional, national, or global players. Often, one company is from each of the three major economic zones of the world: North America, Western Europe, and the Asia — Pacific region.
In a conversation with Martin Reeves, Chairman of the BCG Henderson Insitute, the authors discuss insights from their new book, and also reflect on Bruce Henderson’s original thinking on The Rule of Three and Four.