How to use The Boston Box or Growth-Share Matrix

The Boston Box (Growth Share Matrix), is a technique that can be used to classify a product range using 4 categories: stars, cash cows, wild cats and dogs.

How to use The Boston Box or Growth-Share Matrix

The Boston Box

The Boston Box or Growth Share Matrix, is a technique that can be used to classify a product range. The Boston Box is thus a tool for analyzing the internal environment, since it is focused on the product lifecycle of the internal product portfolio. The model is displayed below:

The Boston box has two axes, considering the market growth rate in the vertical direction and the market share in the horizontal direction. This results in four types of products, namely:

  • Stars 
  • Cash Cows 
  • Wild Cats and 
  • Dogs 

Wild Cats

A successful product starts as a Wild Cat (or problem child) and goes clockwise round the model until it dies or is revitalized as a new product or service. They are unprofitable but are investments for the future.


Stars strengthen their position in a growth industry until they become big profit earners. They have a high market share in a market that is growing.

Cash Cows

Cash cows are mature products or services, in markets with little or no growth. Stars and cash cows provide funding for the other segments of the matrix. Cash cows are characterized by a high market share in a slowly growing market. 


Dogs have low market share in markets with low growth. They are often in areas that are removed or allowed to wither away.

How to use the Boston Box

The boston box is a useful tool for analyzing the current product portfolio. Plotting the services on the matrix provides insight into which products are in which stages. This, together with other forms of analysis, can be used as a starting point to guide product development. 

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