Performance Leader

A competitor or product that offers higher than industry-standard performance for a higher than industry standard price. More than 50% of a Performance Leader competitor's total unit volume is sold at price points above the Standard Leader product
(abbreviation: PL).
(See also Next Leader
, Price Leader
, Standard Leader)

Performance Leader: Some customers prefer more performance in return for a higher price. These customers choose Performance Leaders for their purchases. Performance Leaders are high-end specialists, with the majority of their sales at the higher end of the industry price spectrum. Their products have prices that start about 10% over the Standard Leader price and may reach levels many times the standard price. BMW in automobiles, Robert Mondavi in wines, American Express in credit cards, Cannondale in bicycles, and Restoration Hardware in hardware retailing are notable examples of Performance Leaders.

Performance Leaders play in niches. Their products' higher prices discourage the average customer. As a group, their total market share averages below 15% of the total market, and rarely reaches 30% of total sales. Individual Performance Leaders are usually less than a quarter of the size of the leading Standard Leaders.

Example 1:

Inteligis has produced a time-released breath mint that keeps breath fresh for about two hours. At night, it dissolves more slowly, keeping breath fresh until morning. The mints cost $30 for 200.
(Year 1990-SIC 2000)

Explanation: This Performance Leader product is produced by a Performance Leader company. The time-release Function of this breath mint adds to its cost but makes it last two hours. These mints cost substantially more than the Standard Leader breath mints.

Example 2:

It will be 5 years before Jaguar produces its first model under Ford–probably a less-expensive range of so-called executive cars rivaling BMW.
(Year 1990-SIC 3711)

Explanation: The new Jaguars, as well as the executive cars from BMW, are Performance Leader products. Both Jaguar and BMW would also be Performance Leader companies.

Example 3:

The Advanced Photo System
(developed by 5 manufacturers, including Kodak) means a price increase of about 10% for consumers.
(Year 1998-SIC 3861)

Explanation: The new advance photo system film is a Performance Leader product in the film industry.

Example 4:

Telecommunications carriers are beginning to offer bundles of communications services. Low-cost services should offset higher-cost ones in a package.
(Year 1996-SIC 4800)

Explanation: The bundles of services are Performance Leader products. The industry's Standard Leader products would be unbundled services.

Example 5:

Toy-specialty shops have developed strategies for selling higher-margin and educational toys that appeal to well-heeled parents.
(Year 1997-SIC 5946)

Explanation: The toys specialty shops are Performance Leader companies in the toy retailing industry. The products they offer, such as educational toys, are also Performance Leader products.