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Industry Research

The Best Bets tab above will give you top choices for a quick research start, while the Industry Overview tab will  lead you through a five-step methodology for rapidly researching industries. For more detail, use the Advanced Topics section on the left.

Step 1.  Identify Your Industry

Many industries don’t have NAICS codes so use databases like Hoovers Academic, Business Source Complete and ABI/Inform Compete. Think "Companies", "Businesses", "Competitors". An industry is a group of enterprises primarily engaged in the same kind of economic activity regardless of their types of ownership.

Step 2. Locate Industry Statistics

Statistics are important to build a picture of the industry and how it is functioning. Data like the size and segments of an industry, industry financial benchmarks and financials, forecasts & trends, major companies, competitors, market share, markets & products, and imports/exports are key to drawing a picture of the industry. See Step 1 above for specific industry market research reports that will have industry statistics. Trade journals and associations in Step 3 will also provide many statistics.

Step 3. Find Industry Specific News, Articles, and Reports

Industry and trade associations and specialized industry journals and associations are great places to start

Step 4. Look at the Competition

There are many places to find competition lists. There is no one place for rankings and much of the data surrounding it is proprietary so often your best guess, backed by evidence is good enough. Additional places to look for specialized rankings are trade and industry magazines. Look for buyers guides and trade directories for additional lists of competitors. A search on the internet for a industry and the phrase “buyers guide” or “top rankings” or “competitors”

Step 5. If are not Finding Your Industry...

If you are unable to find industry information for the industry you are looking for, please contact your business librarian listed on the right. Industry research is often difficult.

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