Buying power is known as the bargaining power of customers. There are two types of buyer power. The first is associated with the customer’s price sensitivity. If each brand of a product is similar to all the others, then the buyer will base the purchase decision mainly on price. This will increase the competitive rivalry, resulting in lower prices, and lower profitability. The other type of buyer power relates to negotiating power. Larger buyers tend to have more leverage with the firm, and can negotiate lower prices. When there are many small buyers of a product, all other things remaining equal, the company supplying the product will have higher prices and higher margins. Conversely, if a company sells to a few large buyers, those buyers will have significant leverage to negotiate better pricing. The buyer's power is significant in that buyers can force prices down, demand higher quality products or services, and, in essence, play competitors against one another, all resulting in potential loss of industry profits. Buyers exercise more power when they are large-volume buyers, the product is a significant aspect of the buyer's costs or purchases, the products are standard within an industry, there are few changing or switching costs, the buyers earn low profits, potential for backward integration of the buyer group exists, the product is not essential to the buyer's product, and the buyer has full disclosure about supply, demand, prices, and costs.
The amount of power a buyer has is determined by the impact that customers have on a producing industry. When buyer power is strong it is referred to as monopsony, a market in which there are many suppliers and one buyer. Under these conditions the buyer sets the price. So a classic example of this is Wal-Mart.