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Company > 3M Company: Business Model, SWOT Analysis, and Competitors 2023

3M Company: Business Model, SWOT Analysis, and Competitors 2023

Published: Feb 05, 2023

Inside This Article


    In this blog article, we will delve into the comprehensive analysis of 3M Company's business model, conducting a SWOT analysis, and identifying its key competitors in the year 2023. As a globally recognized conglomerate, 3M Company boasts a diverse range of products and services, catering to various industries. By examining its business model, we aim to gain insights into the company's strategies for sustaining growth and profitability. Additionally, we will explore the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that 3M faces in the current market landscape, while also highlighting notable competitors vying for market share.

    What You Will Learn:

    • Who owns 3M Company and the implications of its ownership structure
    • The mission statement of 3M Company and how it guides its operations
    • How 3M Company generates revenue and the key elements of its business model
    • An explanation of the 3M Company Business Model Canvas and its relevance
    • Identification of the main competitors of 3M Company and their impact on its market position
    • A comprehensive SWOT analysis of 3M Company, highlighting its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

    Who owns 3M Company?

    Major Shareholders

    As a publicly traded company, 3M Company (NYSE: MMM) has a diverse ownership structure. The ownership of 3M is spread among numerous institutional investors, individual shareholders, and company insiders. Here are some of the major shareholders of 3M Company:

    1. Vanguard Group Inc. - Vanguard Group Inc. is one of the largest asset management companies in the world and holds a significant stake in 3M. As of the latest available data, Vanguard Group Inc. owns approximately 8.5% of the company's outstanding shares.

    2. BlackRock Inc. - BlackRock Inc. is another prominent investment management firm that holds a substantial ownership interest in 3M Company. Its ownership stake stands at around 7.3% of the total shares.

    3. State Street Corporation - State Street Corporation is a leading provider of financial services and also holds a noteworthy position in 3M's ownership structure. It currently owns approximately 5.9% of the company's outstanding shares.

    Insider Ownership

    Apart from institutional investors, it is important to consider the ownership held by individuals within the company. Insider ownership can provide insights into the confidence and commitment of management towards the company's long-term success. As of the latest filings, insiders collectively hold around 0.1% of 3M Company's outstanding shares.

    Notable insiders include the company's executives, board members, and other key personnel. Their ownership stake signifies their alignment with shareholders' interests and their belief in the company's growth potential.

    Shareholder Activism

    It is worth mentioning that from time to time, shareholder activism can impact the ownership structure of a company. Shareholder activists are individuals or groups who acquire significant ownership stakes with the intention of influencing corporate decisions and enhancing shareholder value.

    While there have been instances of shareholder activism in various companies, 3M Company has not been subject to any major activist campaigns in recent years. However, it is always important to monitor any potential activist activities, as they can potentially shape the ownership landscape of the company.


    3M Company's ownership is widely distributed among institutional investors, individual shareholders, and insiders. Major shareholders such as Vanguard Group Inc., BlackRock Inc., and State Street Corporation hold significant ownership stakes, demonstrating their confidence in the company's performance. Additionally, insider ownership signifies the commitment of management towards the company's success. While there have been no major activist campaigns targeting 3M, it is essential to stay informed about potential changes in the ownership structure that may impact the company's direction and strategy.

    What is the mission statement of 3M Company?

    The mission statement of 3M Company

    The mission statement of 3M Company is "to improve every life through innovative solutions." This concise yet powerful statement reflects the core values and aspirations of the company. 3M is committed to making a positive impact on individuals and communities worldwide by providing innovative products and solutions that address a wide range of needs and challenges.

    By emphasizing the goal of improving every life, 3M expresses its dedication to serving humanity. This mission statement guides the company's decisions and actions, inspiring its employees to constantly seek innovative solutions that enhance the quality of life for people across the globe.

    In line with this mission, 3M has a long history of pioneering breakthrough technologies and products that have revolutionized various industries. From adhesive tapes and abrasives to healthcare products and renewable energy solutions, 3M's diverse portfolio exemplifies its commitment to innovation and making a difference in people's lives.

    Furthermore, 3M's mission statement also emphasizes the importance of collaboration and partnership. The company recognizes that addressing complex challenges requires collective effort. By working together with customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders, 3M aims to develop and deliver solutions that have a positive impact on society.

    In summary, the mission statement of 3M Company encapsulates its overarching purpose of improving every life through innovative solutions. It serves as a guiding principle for the company, inspiring its employees to create transformative products and technologies that positively impact individuals, communities, and the world as a whole.

    How does 3M Company make money?

    Diverse Product Portfolio

    One of the key ways 3M Company generates revenue is through its diverse product portfolio. With over 55,000 products spanning various industries, the company has established itself as a global leader in innovation. From adhesives and abrasives to healthcare solutions and safety equipment, 3M offers a wide range of products that cater to both consumer and industrial markets.

    Sales to Businesses

    3M primarily sells its products to businesses rather than directly to consumers. The company's business-to-business (B2B) sales strategy allows it to tap into various industries, including healthcare, transportation, electronics, and manufacturing. By targeting businesses, 3M can leverage its reputation for quality and reliability to secure long-term partnerships and contracts.

    Research and Development

    Another significant source of revenue for 3M is its commitment to research and development (R&D). The company invests heavily in innovation and technology, allocating a significant portion of its budget to R&D activities. By constantly developing new and improved products, 3M can meet the evolving needs of its customers and stay ahead of the competition. This focus on innovation not only drives sales but also allows 3M to secure patents and intellectual property rights, creating additional revenue streams through licensing agreements and royalties.

    Global Presence

    3M's global presence plays a vital role in its revenue generation. With operations in more than 70 countries, the company has an expansive reach and can cater to a diverse customer base. By establishing a strong international presence, 3M can tap into emerging markets and capitalize on growing industries worldwide. Additionally, the company's global distribution network ensures that its products are readily available to customers, further boosting sales and revenue.

    Acquisitions and Partnerships

    3M Company also generates revenue through strategic acquisitions and partnerships. By acquiring complementary businesses or technology, 3M can expand its product offerings and enter new markets. These acquisitions not only contribute to immediate revenue growth but also provide long-term synergies and cost savings. Furthermore, partnerships with other companies allow 3M to access new distribution channels, expand its customer base, and enhance its market presence.

    In conclusion, 3M Company makes money through its diverse product portfolio, targeted sales to businesses, investments in research and development, global presence, and strategic acquisitions and partnerships. By leveraging these different revenue streams, 3M has established itself as a leading global company with a strong financial performance.

    3M Company Business Model Canvas Explained

    What is the Business Model Canvas?

    The Business Model Canvas is a strategic management tool that helps organizations visualize, analyze, and refine their business models. It consists of nine key building blocks that represent different aspects of a company's operations and value proposition. These building blocks include customer segments, value propositions, channels, customer relationships, revenue streams, key resources, key activities, key partnerships, and cost structure.

    Customer Segments

    In the case of 3M Company, the customer segments are diverse and span a wide range of industries and markets. 3M serves customers in sectors such as healthcare, transportation, electronics, consumer goods, and industrial markets. This broad customer base allows 3M to leverage its innovative products and technologies across multiple industries, diversifying its revenue streams and reducing the risk of dependence on a single market.

    Value Propositions

    3M has built a reputation for innovation and quality, and its value propositions reflect these core strengths. The company aims to provide customers with innovative solutions that address their specific needs and challenges. 3M's value propositions include its extensive product portfolio, which consists of thousands of different products, ranging from adhesives and abrasives to healthcare and safety products. These products are designed to enhance productivity, improve efficiency, and solve everyday problems for customers.


    3M utilizes a multi-channel approach to reach its customers. The company employs various distribution channels, including direct sales, e-commerce platforms, distributors, and retailers. This multi-channel strategy allows 3M to cater to the diverse needs of its customers across different markets and geographies. Additionally, 3M leverages its global presence and strong relationships with channel partners to ensure its products are readily available to customers worldwide.

    Customer Relationships

    Building and maintaining strong customer relationships is vital for 3M's success. The company focuses on delivering superior customer service and support throughout the entire customer journey. 3M's approach includes providing technical assistance, training programs, and product demonstrations to help customers maximize the value they derive from 3M's products. By fostering strong relationships with its customers, 3M aims to create long-term partnerships that drive customer loyalty and repeat business.

    Revenue Streams

    3M generates revenue through multiple streams, primarily from the sale of its diverse product portfolio. The company's products are sold to customers directly or through various distribution channels. Additionally, 3M derives revenue from licensing agreements, royalties, and collaborations with other companies. This diversified revenue stream helps 3M mitigate risks and adapt to changing market conditions.

    Key Resources

    3M's key resources lie in its extensive research and development capabilities, its strong brand reputation, and its global manufacturing and distribution infrastructure. The company invests heavily in R&D to develop innovative products and technologies, which serve as the foundation of its value propositions. Furthermore, 3M's brand reputation as a trusted provider of high-quality products enables it to command premium prices and gain a competitive advantage in the market.

    Key Activities

    The key activities of 3M revolve around innovation, manufacturing, and marketing. The company continuously invests in research and development to create new products and improve existing ones. Manufacturing is another critical activity for 3M, as it operates a vast network of production facilities worldwide to meet customer demand. Additionally, marketing plays a significant role in promoting 3M's products, building brand awareness, and connecting with customers across different industries and markets.

    Key Partnerships

    Collaboration is crucial for 3M, and the company actively seeks strategic partnerships with other organizations. These partnerships help 3M expand its reach, access new markets, and enhance its product offerings. For instance, 3M collaborates with universities, research institutions, and industry experts to leverage external expertise and gain new insights. Additionally, 3M forms alliances with suppliers and distributors to ensure a reliable supply chain and efficient distribution of its products.

    Cost Structure

    The cost structure of 3M primarily includes expenses related to research and development, manufacturing, marketing, and distribution. 3M's commitment to innovation requires significant investments in R&D activities to develop breakthrough technologies and maintain a competitive edge. Manufacturing costs include raw materials, labor, and overhead expenses associated with operating global production facilities. Marketing and distribution costs encompass advertising, promotions, and logistics expenses. By managing these costs effectively, 3M strives to optimize its operations and maintain profitability.

    Which companies are the competitors of 3M Company?

    Overview of 3M Company

    Before diving into the competitors of 3M Company, it's essential to understand the company itself. 3M Company, also known as Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, is a global conglomerate with a diverse range of products and services. Founded in 1902, 3M operates in various industries, including healthcare, transportation, electronics, safety, and consumer goods.

    3M is renowned for its innovative and technologically advanced solutions. The company prides itself on creating products that enhance everyday life, improve efficiency, and drive sustainable growth. With a strong focus on research and development, 3M has positioned itself as a leader in multiple markets worldwide.

    Competitors of 3M Company

    1. DuPont: As another global conglomerate, DuPont offers a range of products and services that overlap with those of 3M. Both companies operate in sectors such as healthcare, materials science, and electronics. DuPont's emphasis on sustainable solutions and its strong presence in various industries makes it a formidable competitor to 3M.

    2. Honeywell International: Honeywell is a multinational conglomerate that competes with 3M in several sectors, including healthcare, aerospace, and industrial manufacturing. Both companies are known for their cutting-edge technologies and solutions. Honeywell's global reach and extensive product portfolio make it a significant player in the markets where it intersects with 3M.

    3. Johnson & Johnson: While primarily known for its healthcare and consumer products, Johnson & Johnson also competes with 3M in areas like wound care, infection prevention, and surgical solutions. The company's strong brand recognition, global distribution network, and continuous investment in research and development make it a key competitor to 3M.

    4. General Electric: As a conglomerate with a broad range of products and services, General Electric (GE) competes with 3M in sectors such as healthcare, energy, transportation, and electronics. GE's substantial market presence, technological expertise, and global reach make it a prominent rival to 3M.

    5. BASF: BASF is a multinational chemical company that competes with 3M in various industries, including coatings, adhesives, and specialty materials. Both companies strive to develop innovative and sustainable solutions for customers worldwide. BASF's extensive product portfolio and strong research and development capabilities position it as a significant competitor to 3M.

    These are just a few examples of the competitors 3M Company faces in the marketplace. It's important to note that competition can vary across different sectors and regions, and new competitors may emerge due to evolving market dynamics and technological advancements. However, 3M's commitment to innovation, its extensive product range, and its strong global presence continue to make it a formidable player in multiple industries.

    3M Company SWOT Analysis


    • Strong brand reputation: 3M Company is a globally recognized brand known for its innovation and quality products. The company has built a strong reputation over the years, which has helped it gain customer loyalty and trust.

    • Diverse product portfolio: One of the key strengths of 3M Company is its wide range of products across various industries. The company operates in multiple sectors such as healthcare, industrial, consumer, and safety, which allows it to have a diverse revenue stream and reduces its dependence on a single market.

    • Innovation-driven culture: 3M Company has a strong culture of innovation, which has been a major driver of its success. The company encourages its employees to think creatively and come up with new ideas. This culture of innovation has led to numerous breakthrough products and technologies, giving 3M a competitive edge in the market.

    • Strong distribution network: 3M Company has a well-established distribution network that spans across the globe. This extensive network ensures that its products are readily available to customers in various countries, giving the company a competitive advantage in terms of market reach and customer accessibility.


    • Dependence on a few key customers: Although 3M Company has a diverse customer base, it is heavily reliant on a few key customers for a significant portion of its revenue. This dependence on a few customers exposes the company to potential risks if these customers choose to switch to competitors or reduce their orders.

    • High production costs: 3M Company's focus on quality and innovation comes at a cost. The company invests heavily in research and development, which leads to higher production costs compared to its competitors. This can impact its profit margins and pricing competitiveness in the market.

    • Complex organizational structure: 3M Company operates in various industries and has a complex organizational structure. This complexity can sometimes slow down decision-making processes and hinder effective communication between different departments. It may also make it challenging for the company to adapt quickly to market changes or implement new strategies.


    • Growing demand for sustainable products: With increasing awareness about environmental sustainability, there is a growing demand for eco-friendly products. 3M Company can capitalize on this opportunity by developing and promoting sustainable alternatives across its product portfolio. This can not only attract environmentally conscious customers but also enhance the company's brand reputation as a responsible corporate citizen.

    • Expansion in emerging markets: Emerging markets, such as India and China, present significant growth opportunities for 3M Company. These markets have a large consumer base and increasing disposable income, creating a demand for innovative and high-quality products. By expanding its presence in these markets, 3M Company can tap into new revenue streams and gain a competitive advantage over its rivals.

    • Strategic partnerships and acquisitions: 3M Company can explore strategic partnerships and acquisitions to strengthen its market position and expand its product offerings. Collaborating with other companies or acquiring businesses that complement its existing portfolio can help 3M Company enter new markets, access new technologies, and diversify its product range.


    • Intense competition: 3M Company operates in highly competitive industries, facing competition from both established players and new entrants. The presence of numerous competitors can make it challenging for 3M Company to maintain market share, pricing power, and profitability. The company needs to continuously innovate and differentiate itself to stay ahead of the competition.

    • Economic uncertainties: 3M Company's performance is influenced by the overall economic conditions in the countries it operates in. Economic downturns, recessions, or fluctuations in currency exchange rates can impact consumer spending and demand for 3M's products. The company needs to closely monitor economic trends and adjust its strategies accordingly to mitigate potential risks.

    • Regulatory and compliance risks: As a global company, 3M operates in different jurisdictions, each with its own regulations and compliance requirements. Changes in regulations or non-compliance with existing laws can pose risks to the company's operations, reputation, and financial performance. 3M needs to stay updated on regulatory changes and ensure strict adherence to compliance standards to avoid any legal or reputational issues.

    Key Takeaways

    • 3M Company is owned by various institutional and individual investors, with no single majority owner.
    • The mission statement of 3M Company is to use science to improve people's lives through innovation and sustainable solutions.
    • 3M Company generates revenue through a diversified portfolio of products across various sectors, including industrial, safety and graphics, healthcare, electronics, and consumer goods.
    • The business model canvas of 3M Company emphasizes customer segments, value propositions, key activities, resources, and partnerships that drive its success.
    • Competitors of 3M Company include companies like DowDuPont, General Electric, Honeywell, and Johnson & Johnson.
    • A SWOT analysis of 3M Company reveals its strengths in innovation and global presence, weaknesses in product recalls, opportunities in emerging markets, and threats from intense competition and economic fluctuations.


    In conclusion, 3M Company is a multinational conglomerate that is owned by various institutional and individual investors. Its mission statement revolves around innovation and improving lives through its diverse range of products. The company generates revenue through its five business segments, which include industrial, safety and graphics, healthcare, electronics and energy, and consumer. By utilizing a unique business model canvas, 3M Company effectively leverages its resources, channels, and customer relationships to create value for its stakeholders and maintain a competitive advantage in the market. Speaking of competition, 3M Company faces rivals such as DuPont, Honeywell, and General Electric in different sectors. Lastly, a SWOT analysis of 3M Company reveals its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, highlighting its strong brand reputation, global presence, innovation capabilities, potential market expansion, and the challenges it faces in terms of regulatory compliance and economic uncertainties. Overall, 3M Company continues to thrive in the market by consistently delivering innovative solutions and adapting to meet the needs of an ever-changing world.


    What are the strengths of 3M Company?

    The strengths of 3M Company include:

    1. Diversified Product Portfolio: 3M is known for its wide range of products across various industries including healthcare, consumer goods, industrial, safety and graphics, and electronics. This diversification helps the company withstand economic fluctuations and reduces its dependence on any single market segment.

    2. Innovation and R&D Capabilities: 3M has a strong culture of innovation and invests heavily in research and development (R&D). The company consistently introduces new and improved products, leveraging its expertise in materials science, manufacturing technologies, and customer insights. This focus on innovation helps 3M stay ahead of its competitors and maintain its market leadership.

    3. Strong Brand Reputation: 3M has built a strong brand reputation over its long history of more than a century. The company is known for its high-quality and reliable products, which has earned the trust of customers worldwide. 3M's commitment to sustainability and social responsibility also enhances its brand image.

    4. Global Presence and Distribution Network: 3M operates in over 70 countries and has a widespread distribution network, enabling it to reach customers globally. This global presence allows the company to capture opportunities in emerging markets and cater to diverse customer needs.

    5. Strong Financial Performance: 3M has consistently delivered strong financial performance, with steady revenue growth and profitability. The company's focus on operational efficiency and cost management contributes to its financial success, providing a solid foundation for further investment and growth.

    6. Strong Culture and Employee Engagement: 3M fosters a culture of collaboration, diversity, and inclusion, which encourages employees to bring their best ideas forward. The company's commitment to employee development and engagement has resulted in a highly motivated workforce that drives innovation and contributes to its success.

    Overall, these strengths position 3M as a leading global company with a wide product portfolio, a culture of innovation, a strong brand reputation, and a global presence.

    What are the threats to 3M companies?

    There are several potential threats that 3M, a multinational conglomerate corporation, may face. These threats include:

    1. Intense competition: 3M operates in a wide range of industries, and faces strong competition from both large multinational companies and smaller niche players. This competition can impact market share, pricing power, and profitability.

    2. Economic downturns: 3M's business is dependent on global economic conditions. During economic downturns, decreased consumer and business spending can impact demand for 3M's products, leading to lower sales and revenue.

    3. Trade wars and tariffs: 3M operates globally and relies on international trade. Trade disputes and the imposition of tariffs can increase costs, disrupt supply chains, and negatively impact profitability.

    4. Regulatory challenges: As a diverse company, 3M operates in various sectors that are subject to extensive regulations. Changes in regulations or compliance requirements can increase costs and limit market access.

    5. Intellectual property infringements: 3M invests significantly in research and development to create innovative products. However, there is always a risk of intellectual property theft or infringement, which can impact the company's competitiveness and profitability.

    6. Environmental concerns: 3M operates in industries that have a significant impact on the environment. Increasing scrutiny and regulations related to environmental sustainability can require costly changes to production processes and potentially affect market demand for certain products.

    7. Technological disruptions: Rapid advancements in technology can disrupt traditional markets and render certain products or technologies obsolete. 3M needs to continually adapt and innovate to stay ahead of such disruptions.

    8. Product recalls or liability claims: If any of 3M's products are found to be defective or harmful, it can lead to costly recalls, lawsuits, and damage to the company's reputation.

    9. Currency fluctuations: As a global company, 3M is exposed to currency exchange rate fluctuations. These fluctuations can impact the company's revenues, profitability, and competitiveness in different markets.

    It is important to note that these threats are not exhaustive and can vary over time based on changing market conditions, industry dynamics, and global events.

    What is 3M's competitive advantage?

    3M's competitive advantage lies in its diversified portfolio of products and technologies, its strong culture of innovation, and its global presence.

    1. Diversified Portfolio: 3M operates in multiple industries, including industrial, healthcare, consumer, and transportation, offering a wide range of products and solutions. This diversification reduces the company's dependence on any single market and helps it serve various customer needs.

    2. Innovation Culture: 3M has a strong focus on innovation and encourages its employees to be creative and generate new ideas. The company invests heavily in R&D, leading to a continuous stream of new products and technologies. This innovation culture allows 3M to stay ahead of competitors and respond effectively to market changes.

    3. Global Presence: 3M has a global footprint, operating in more than 70 countries and serving customers in nearly 200 countries. This extensive global presence gives the company access to diverse markets, enables it to cater to local needs, and provides economies of scale.

    4. Brand Reputation: 3M has built a strong reputation for quality and reliability over its long history. Its brand is associated with innovation, performance, and trust, which gives it a competitive edge in the market.

    5. Customer Relationships: 3M emphasizes building strong relationships with its customers, understanding their needs, and providing customized solutions. This customer-centric approach helps in maintaining long-term partnerships and gaining a competitive advantage.

    Overall, 3M's competitive advantage stems from its diversified portfolio, culture of innovation, global presence, brand reputation, and customer relationships.

    How can I find a SWOT analysis on a company?

    There are several ways to find a SWOT analysis on a company:

    1. Company website: Start by visiting the official website of the company you are interested in. Some companies may provide a SWOT analysis in their annual reports, investor presentations, or corporate social responsibility reports.

    2. Business databases: Access business databases such as Bloomberg, Hoovers, or MarketLine. These databases often have detailed company profiles that include SWOT analysis sections.

    3. Stock market platforms: Utilize stock market platforms like Yahoo Finance, Google Finance, or Seeking Alpha. These platforms often feature analysis and reports on publicly traded companies, including SWOT analysis.

    4. Business publications: Check business publications, such as Forbes, Fortune, or Business Insider. They frequently publish SWOT analyses or related articles on various companies.

    5. Academic resources: Utilize academic resources like academic journals, research papers, or business school libraries. These sources often provide in-depth analysis, including SWOT analysis, on specific companies.

    6. Professional analysts and consulting firms: Research reports by professional analysts or consulting firms like McKinsey, Deloitte, or PwC often include SWOT analysis sections. Some reports may be freely available, while others may require a subscription or purchase.

    7. Online search engines: Conduct a simple online search using the company name followed by "SWOT analysis." This can lead you to articles, blogs, or reports where SWOT analyses have been conducted or discussed.

    Remember that SWOT analysis is subjective and can vary depending on the source. It is always beneficial to gather insights from multiple sources to get a comprehensive understanding of a company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

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