SWOT Analysis of General Electric: Strengths & Weaknesses 2021

NameGeneral Electric
HeadquartersBoston, Massachusetts, USA
CEOJeffrey Robert Immelt
Revenues$79,619 Billion (2020)
Profit$19,198 Billion (2020)
CompetitorsBentley Systems, Mitsubishi Electric, Schneider Electric, Philips, Honeywell, 3M, Siemens, Boeing, Lockhead Martin, Legrand

Company Overview:

General Electric is a technology and financial services company that has a deep and broad innovation in different segments. The Power segment includes products and technologies related to energy production such as gas and steam turbines and power generation. Renewable Energy provides end-to-end solutions for renewable energy. The Aviation segment designs and produces commercial and military aircraft engines, integrated digital components, electric power, and mechanical aircraft systems. The Healthcare segment. It covers healthcare technologies in medical imaging, digital solutions, patient monitoring, and diagnostics, and drug discovery. The financial services division, Capital, offers leases, underwriting, and insurance, and other financial products and services. Annual revenue has been declining since 2017 from $99,279 billion to $79,619 billion (2020). The annual gross profit was consistently moving upward from $23,686 billion in 2017 to $28,303 billion in 2019. However, it decreased to $19,198 billion in 2020.

General Electric Strengths 2021:

  • Constant desire for innovation.

    Since its establishment and inspired by founder Thomas Alva Edison’s visions, GE has been known as one of the most innovative companies in the world. GE researchers Ivar Giaever and Irving Langmuir won Nobel Prize in Physics and Nobel Prize in Chemistry, respectively (GE, 2012).
  • The key technology trends of GE were strongly influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    This year’s report includes the convergence of several technologies into one offering, operational resilience in digital transformation, enhanced solutions for remote operations, and moving automated operations to autonomous (GE, 2021).
  • Research and Development.

    The General Electric Research Lab (GE Lab) was an idea of GE’s star engineer Charles P. Steinmetz in the late 1890s to spend money on a lab and researchers who would work on the next big profitable item for the company (Edison Tech Center, 2011).
  • GE has over a thousand innovators and hundreds of patents and publications.

    They turn technology breakthroughs into commercial successes. In 2018, GE Research Lab received the HPCwire Editors’ Choice Award for Best Use of HPC in Manufacturing (HPCwire, 2018). GE invests billions in research and development; they incurred around $3.8 billion in 2020 (Statista, 2021). 

  • Diversified product portfolio.

    General Electric makes money from its diverse product portfolio. They provide aviation, power, renewable energy, healthcare, and financial products and services. Based on GE Q4 2020, the highest revenue comes from the aviation segment at 26%, power at 24%, and healthcare at 22 percent. However, healthcare generates the most profit with 52 percent (Investopedia, 2021).

  • Global presence. GE is present in over 130 countries worldwide with around 174,000 employees (2020). The Asian market is GE’s largest sales region outside of the U.S. In 2020, it was ranked 29th by Interbrand as Best Global Brands and it was 77th in Fortune Global 500 (Ranking The Brands, 2021).  

General Electric Weaknesses 2021:

  • Fines and lawsuits.

    GE has been involved in a number of legal cases in the past. One of the most recent ones was the case of misleading investors regarding its power and insurance business. As a result, GE was fined $200 million to settle the charges (Feuer, 2020). 
  • Impacted aviation unit.

    The aviation segment, GE’s most profitable division, has been majorly affected by the global health crisis. There were reduced air travel and airplane companies were not ordering new planes or plane parts. This prompted GE to lay off 10% of its U.S. workforce (Hansen, 2021).

General Electric Opportunities 2021:

  • Innovation and Growth Opportunities.

    GE’s constant yearning to innovate will always be its strength. Because of its diversified portfolio, it can easily adapt to more segments in various fields. They focus their research on robotics and artificial intelligence. In 2021, GE announced its collaboration with Verizon Business to create a cross-industry testbed powered by Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband. This would connect industrial devices in a fast and reliable way (GE, 2021).
  • Growth in the renewable energy market.

    According to a forecast by Statista (2021), the global renewable market is expected to continue its upward growth, reaching $1.1 trillion by 2027. This growth will come from environmental concerns related to fossil fuels, rapid urbanization, and economic growth in emerging regions.
  • Global aviation’s recovery.

    According to GE’s chief executive Larry Culp, Covid hit their biggest and best business the hard way. While commercial aviation has sequential growth this year, it is yet to make a full recovery. Culp said they couldn’t wait for its recovery. They intend to take advantage of the demand as it builds and pursue more opportunities in the military sector (Cirium, 2021).

General Electric Threats 2021:

  • Intense Global Competition.

    Even a big name with a broad portfolio should be concerned with the intense global competition for oil and gas services, power generation, healthcare, and aircraft services. GE should continue improving technological innovations and designs. Their biggest competitors are Siemens, Bentley Systems, Schneider Electric, Mitsubishi Electric, and 3M (Craft, 2021).

  • Pandemic effect.

    Everyone has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and caused many businesses to close or lose income. The world has defined the new normal, which includes lockdowns and remote work. As it is hard to predict the future, companies need to adapt to revenue-generating solutions in line with the current situation. 

General Electric SWOT Analysis Conclusion:

Even as a big company with a diversified portfolio, GE has been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with profits declining in 2020. However, they are on a positive trajectory in 2021 as they transform into a more focused, simpler, and stronger industrial company (GE, 2021). These steps should also address and resolve their threats and weaknesses. Their plans and projects include adapting to what we see life would be post-pandemic. GE’s passion and dedication to innovate will increase its market share and maintain its global branding.


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