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Start with the Government
I usually recommend when doing industry research that you start by finding out what classification number the U.S. Government has assigned to that industry. They collect a lot of data about industries and make it available for free to everyone.
- North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS)
This is the classification system used by the U.S. Government. Use the Search box for the 2012 NAICS on the left to enter in a keyword or two about your industry to find out how they classify it. You will get anywhere from a two-digit (very general) to a six-digit (very specific) classification number. Write this number down. You can use it to search other government sites and business databases to find info on your industry!
- U.S. Economic Census
The Economic Census is taken every 5 years in years that end in 2 and 7. The most recent census with data available is from 2017. Some top-level data is available now and data will continue to be rolled out over the next few years. This will give you the number of establishments, the value of sales, annual payroll, and number of employees for broad sectors of the U.S. economy. Note that several of the columns report the data in $1,000 of dollars, so you'll need to add 3 zeroes to the end of the number to get the actual dollar value.
Statista This link opens in a new window
Integrates data on over 80,000 topics from over 18.000 sources onto a single professional platform. Categorized into 21 market sectors, it provides direct access to quantitative data on media, business, finance, politics, and a wide variety of other areas of interest or markets.
In recommended order, here are the databases available to assist you in industry research:
First Research This link opens in a new window
First Research covers about 900 U.S. industries. Reports are updated regularly. The reports cover how the industry operates, important issues facing the industry, industry forecast, challenges, trends, opportunities and more! It also has statistics on industries within U.S. states.
IBISWorld This link opens in a new window
Collection of industry market research and industry risk rankings
Business Insights: Essentials This link opens in a new window
When searching by industry in this database, you can search by NAICS code or by description. Sometimes the industry info in this database is a little older than reports in other databases. Look for reports in other databases before relying solely on this one.
Standard & Poor's NetAdvantage This link opens in a new window
One of the leading sources of information on the largest industries in the U.S. S&P covers about 50 industries. Reports are updated every 6 months. Each report contains industry trends; how the industry operates; key industry ratios and statistics; how to analyze a company in the industry; and a comparative company financial analysis of the largest companies in the industry.
Business Source Complete This link opens in a new window
This database allows you to search by industry code or industry description. This database contains a lot of industry reports for areas outside the U.S. You can limit the results by geography to get more relevant results.
Mergent Online This link opens in a new window
A robust resource that contains Moody's Manuals since 1909 (WebReports), InvestorEdge that tracks company and industry performance, NAICS/SIC Code searching and more. Under the "Economics" tab, review more information about industries and commodities. You can also link to EDGAR from this database for latest company filings. You can also pull Industry Ratio reports by selecting 'Comparison Reports'.
Trade or industry associations are a great source for information on an industry. Some times they have free information available. Other times it is restricted to members of that organization.
Business Insights: Essentials
To search for trade associations, go to the Advanced Search page. Instead of Keyword search, select Association from the pull-down menu. Search by Association Name, Description, NAICS, SIC, State or Country.
Search for Industry Association Information in Articles
NexisUni This link opens in a new window
Search newspaper articles for information about an industry or association. We used the National Retail Federation as an example in class.