What Is an Economic Moat? India Dictionary

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Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse. “So when things are tough for a great business, they say things will be tough forever; very few people think that this moat will help the business bounce back,” he says. Technological change is one of the biggest factors why there can be erosion in a moat. When a new technology arrives, there is usually a big chance for a competitor to erode the moat of another company. Also, some bad management decisions can also lead to erosion of moat.

The research, personal finance and market tutorial sections are widely followed by students, academia, corporates and investors among others. The network effect occurs when the value of a company and its existing customer’s increases as more people use or buy a service or product. As a result of its role as a facilitator, the company creates value for itself and others. It indicates that consumers are compatible with one another and receive increasing value from it. The more customers there are, the easier it is to sell things.

But scale-based cost advantage, by contrast, tends to be much, much more robust. Economic moat are the patents on COVID-19 drugs and vaccinations, which have given pharmaceutical organizations a competitive edge. For value investors, there is nothing better than a wide moat stock which is trading at undervalued price levels. Intangible assets like patent, brands and licenses allows a company to charge a premium price to protect its production process. For example, Pharmaceutical companies earn millions due to their patent drugs. Economies of scale are basically when a company’s variable costs decline with increase in production.

As Wall Street bailed for the exits, Amex shares dropped from $60 to $35 over 60 days. The oil in the tanks was inspected regularly and pledged as collateral for the line of credit. De Angelis ingeniously thought of a way to outsmart the banks. He would fill the containers with water and had only a few feet of salad oil on top. Since the oil floated on top of the water, it appeared to inspectors that these ships were loaded with oil.

What is a Moat, and how does it help an investor?

Therefore, mere mortals like us may want to stick to good-old number crunching. Giving excessive weightage to abstract qualitative factors can prove to be dangerous for investors. Therefore, they are forced to reduce prices in order to convert their inventory to cash. Some players shut down during this glut phase, and the supply of steel slows down, resulting in higher prices — and the cycle begins again. Although they’re usually depicted as extensive, deep our bodies of water, moats had been typically merely dry ditches.


This is an example of a positive feedback loop with an unlimited amount of momentum. For example, when Youtube was launched in 2005, it had a relatively small number of videos on its platform. But as more and more users started posting videos, even more people started searching for these videos. This increased the value of YouTube’s service and led the number of videos uploaded to the platform to grow substantially. Let’s discuss how to identify companies with economic moat.

This is because such a change would require significant time and effort such as vendor selection, board approval, training of employees, etc. In this case, the current provider has a switching moat operating in its favor. Please read the scheme information and other related documents carefully before investing. Please consider your specific investment requirements before choosing a fund, or designing a portfolio that suits your needs. In simple words, it is advances received from customers for services or products. It often goes a long way to reduce a company’s dependence on working capital financing.

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Just like moats around castles that prevented invasions by enemies, economic moats prevent competitors from eating into a company’s profits. Usually, when a business earns a high return on capital, competitors swiftly move in and lower the returns. This phenomenon continues until the return on capital becomes lower than the cost of capital. The Morningstar Economic Moat Rating represents a company’s sustainable competitive advantage. A company with an economic moat can fend off competition and earn high returns on capital for many years to come.

It can thwart competition by its cost advantage and can sell its products at a very low price, keeping rivals at bay. As a result, their offerings are hard to mimic by the competitors. High switching costs-This indicator is best described by changing computers. A long-time Microsoft user who plans to switch to Apple can get frustrated with the difference in the interface and might probably just drop the plan. In the stock market world, when a business is capable of establishing itself in the industry, suppliers and customers can face high switching costs if they choose to do business with a competitor.

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The reputation of these products offers these firms a moat, protecting them in opposition to competition and typically even the failure of its own other merchandise. A broad financial moat is a sort of sustainable competitive benefit possessed by a business that makes it troublesome for rivals to put on down its market share. The term financial moat was made popular by the investor Warren Buffett and is derived from the water-filled moats that surrounded medieval castles.

Examples of Indian Companies with big MOAT.

This type of competitive advantage is known as an economic moat. The moat can be because of multiple reasons like brand value, business monopoly, intangible assets , low production cost, high networking, technology, etc. The economic moat helps the company to sustain success for the long-term. The average retail investor does not have the time or the resources to study multiple industries in-depth, putting him at a disadvantage. A major example of misunderstanding moats is the assumption that brands equal moats. Most brands do not really offer any sustainable competitive advantages, and the ones which do offer real advantages might not do so after a few years.

When the topic of switching prices emerges, it is frequently in the context of customer dissatisfaction. It usually means the corporate is worthwhile in good instances and unhealthy, resilient within the face of unhealthy information, and dominant in its business. Knowing where to seek out firms with wide moats and tips on how to invest in their stocks is usually a key a part of constructing a strong funding portfolio.


Hence, any revenue from the streaming of any music across platforms will eventually flow to the owner of the copyright in the industry. When a company acquires music rights of any content, it has the sole distribution rights to various mediums. The company has been doing certain digital initiatives and systemenhancements and has gained a good share from NSDL in the last 3 years. Also, it has led to decreased dependence on raw materials for companies from countries such as China. They are those Moats that enable the company to large amount of money in a very shorter period. Similarly, a company having a license to do a specific type of business can be considered a MOAT as well.

Maggie Noodles gets hit every six month from some news paper article, but the management is smart to quell the fear. To ensure that he got a feel of what was happening on the ground, he spent some time with the cashier at Ross’s Steak House in Omaha. He noted that the scandal did not stop people from using their green cards. In 1963, the entire operation blew up when it was discovered that the company could not account for the absence of more than $175 million in salad oil. Google started its moat by developing a better algorithm for indexing and searching the internet. The company has since strengthened that moat by putting that advantage to work in transportation, shopping, and advertising.

So, businesses that want to use protected intellectual property require prior permission for the copyrighted or licensed materials. The modus operandi observed is that once a client pays amount to them, huge profits are shown in his account online inducing more investment. However, they stop responding when client demands return of amount invested and profit earned. In fact, most of the time the company is identified with the brand name itself. On the other hand, new-age technology companies may take a few years to achieve economic moat. Ltd. makes no warranties or representations, express or implied, on products offered through the platform.

The concept of an Economic Moat was first popularized by Warren Buffett. An economic moat represents some unique competitive advantage that a company enjoys that is likely to sustain growth, profit margins and market share for a long time to come. When it comes to stock market investing, smart investors look at the concept of Wide Economic Moat. In fact, wide economic moat is a measure of how real and how sustainable is your competitive edge as a business.

As discussed within the lemonade stand instance, a price benefit that rivals can’t replicate can be a very effective economic moat. Few products and services are not easily abandoned by the customers as they involve switching cost. The best example of a company with switching cost as the economic moat is TCS. This information technology giant provides the best service in this field. Moreover, in order to switch to other company, it might require a lot of technology/service change which might be little difficult for the customers.

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Similarly, what is moat in business is the advantage one has over the competition. The reason being for any business, the biggest threat is competition. Some consider excellent management as MOAT, whereas others consider growth and a better business environment as the MOAT for the business. My book helps Indian retail Investors make right investment decisions. Best stock discovery tool with +130 filters, built for fundamental analysis.

  • Giving excessive weightage to abstract qualitative factors can prove to be dangerous for investors.
  • As their production cost is low, they can make a good profit margin.
  • The products and services are not easily abandoned by the customers as they involve switching costs.
  • If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Dry moats minimize throughout the slender a part of a spur or peninsula are referred to as neck ditches.

A company with a license to serve electricity, gas to its customers in a geographic region is a MOAT. As an example, Pidilite in India’s adhesive market has a market share of around 70%. There s very little competition can do to disrupt its position. If you are in equity markets and follow Warren Buffett, you are more likely to have heard the line.

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While you are busy with your job or running your business, your portfolio is constantly monitored by us. These products and the ideas can be copied but the network effort will prevent the existing customers from switching to another network. Rivals (Handspring, Sony, Hewlett-Packard) introduced their own versions cannibalizing market share from Palm and eroding its margins. Although Palm had built an impressive castle, it couldn’t build a sufficient moat to defend that castle from its rivals. However, as the funds he managed grew, such small investments did not really move the needle for his investment firm.

Dorsey says these businesses can be termed as moats as they can undercut their rivals on price. All these factors help a company to cut costs in ways that their competitors cannot. Huge capital requirement-This indicator is a high barrier to entry from high capital requirements.

The wider the moat, the tougher it would be for an invader to succeed in the castle. A good instance of a competitive benefit can be a low-value benefit, such as cheap entry to uncooked supplies. This is when extra items of a good or service could be produced on a larger scale with lower enter prices. This reduces overhead costs in areas such as financing, promoting, manufacturing, and so forth.

Long-term profitability-Is the company able to withstand market competition and generate long-term profits? Will it still be there, distributing yearly dividends in the next 20 years? If the answer is yes, then it is a sign that the company has a wide moat as it foresees future challenges and maps out strategies on how to increase future income. Investments in securities market are subject to market risk, read all the related documents carefully before investing. This competitive advantage was not created by the marketing team at the Tata Group. Instead, Tata Group’s involvement in nation-building projects, transparent business practices, and employee-friendly practices over the past decades have played a key role in building this credibility.

A cultural moat is based on the competitive advantage that a company creates based on its value proposition, brand, and traditions. Switching costs can be even higher in the case of bureaucratic standards. For example, many businesses might decide to retain their payroll processing company for an extended period of time.

In terms of value investing, moat is basically an entry barrier that provides competitive advantage to a business , which helps in maintaining its market share and thus, profits for a longer run. An economic moat can be defined as a competitive advantage for a company against its competitors or the companies in the same industry. It helps to create a closed market with a profitable business which is difficult for the competitors to copy. A good economic moat entails the ability of an organisation to maintain a competitive edge over its competitors to protect its long-term profits and market share from competing firms.

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