First-mover advantage Academic Article uri icon


  • Numerous conceptual and empirical studies advance the notion that first movers achieve long-term competitive advantages. These studies purport to demonstrate the presence of a systematic direct relationship between order of entry for products, brands, or businesses and market share. However, an objective assessment of the literature suggests that this view must be qualified. A broadened perspective is presented that highlights the complexity of this phenomenon and suggests that first-mover status may or may not produce sustainable advantages because of a multiplicity of controllable and uncontrollable forces. A conceptual framework identifying factors that underlie first-mover advantage and product-market contingencies that moderate the order of entry-competitive advantage relationship is proffered. Several research propositions relevant for marketing theory and practice are presented.

published proceedings

  • IEEE Engineering Management Review

author list (cited authors)

  • Kerin, R. A., Varadarajan, P. R., & Peterson, R. A.

complete list of authors

  • Kerin, RA||Varadarajan, PR||Peterson, RA

publication date

  • December 1993