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Industry Information: Industry Overviews

Guide to researching U.S. and global industries, including industry overviews, trends and statistics, and trade associations.

Industry Research: Strategies & Tips

  • Some industries are easier to research than others. Not every industry is covered in all resources. It may be hard to find a report on an emerging or niche industry. The libraries may not have access to expensive reports found through web searching.
    • Tips: Broaden your search (e.g., instead of the "fishing stores industry", find information on "sporting goods stores") or look up information in related/competing industries. Think about your target customers and what else they may like to do, then research that market (you will need to make some educated assumptions). Search for articles and on the web. Look up Form S-1 or the 10K of a public company in the same industry.
       
  • Different resources may use different names for the same industry. Even NAICS industry codes can be different, as they are assigned by businesses and organizations that produced the reports/data.
    • Tips:  Brainstorm keywords/terms. Be flexible in your searching; try different ideas or combinations of terms. Search for major companies in an industry, or prominent brand names.
       
  • Even in the same industry, information and data from different resources may not be the same, due to difference in scope, time period, source, or methodology.
    • Tips:  Make sure you understand how a particular report defines the industry, and what the numbers mean (e.g., production vs. retail sales). Get information from a few different sources, and develop your own estimate.
       
  • Most resources provide industry/market information on the national level, rather than at the local or regional level.  
    • Tips: Make educated assumptions based on what you find. Check Economic Census industry data by state. Search for articles and on the web for information on local markets.

Industry Overviews & Analysis

Industry reports contain valuable analysis of an industry's operating conditions, driving forces, competitive landscapes, and more. Use these resources to help you identify and define an industry, locate industry surveys and reports, search for industry trends, identify leading companies, find market share data and rankings, get current and in-depth news about an industry, and much more. Be aware that many do not cover smaller niche industries and always check the date to see how current the information is. Supplement these reports with information found in newspapers and trade publications.

Trade Association Strategy

Trade and professional association websites often contain trends and forecasts, news, government regulations, regulatory concerns, and new technological developments. Some may provide market data and sales statistics; look for links called "research" or "data."

Use the Associations tab on this guide, or use IBISWorld and industry reports in ABI/INFORM Trade & Industry to identify trade associations.