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Researching an Industry

How to Begin:

When researching an industry, consider the following:
Is your industry a segment of a larger industry? For example, men’s shoes may be part of the larger segment called apparel, which may be part of the larger industry of retail. You will want to look at your industry from the smallest segment to the larger industry.
What kind of industry are you studying? Is it service, manufacturing, retail, etc.?
Do you know the SIC and NAICS codes for your industry? If not, see below for how to find them.

Starting with Google? Might be good for...

Professional associations (San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, American Bakers' Association, etc.)
Web sites for companies within your industry
Some articles, fact sheets, statistics
Pricing, logos, images

Sources for Industry Descriptions and Overviews:

Great information on industries in the US and global economy. Each Industry Report includes overviews, data and statistics, market share, competitive landscape, major companies, outlooks and more!

Tips for IBISWorld:

• Use a keyword or phrase for your industry to search. Start big: transportation.
• Browse the list of results for useful reports. Click “More Results” to see additional reports.
• Use other keywords for your topic to find additional reports. For example, for a taxi or shuttle service, search the word: taxi, and also try the word: shuttle, to see what other different industry reports come up.

Reminder: If you can’t find your exact industry, think about the larger industry/industries it is a part of, i.e.: After school tutoring, try education; hunger, try food or food services. And use information from related industries too: Information about ice cream might give you some ideas about the market for cupcakes or other sweets

Net Advantage:
Use the Industries search to find Industry Surveys with information on about 50 US industries, including competitors, trends, market size and description, internal and external factors of companies and industries relating to success.

Use this database for company and industry data and information:
Companies: detailed financial data; corporate family showing parent, subsidiaries, branches; competitors; analysts' reports; SWOT, etc.
Industries: market research reports; Datamonitor industry profiles; RMA Industry Norms (ratios), etc.

Passport GMID:
Excellent for country, industry, and consumer statistics and market research. 

Tips for Passport GMID industry search:

• Accept user agreement.
• In upper right corner of the screen, search a simple keyword like “snacks.”
• On the next screen, you will get a list of all of the information in this database that mentions snacks.
• Use the menus on the left to choose what you want to look at (i.e. under Geography, select United States, or under By Category, select what area of snacking you are interested in (health and wellness, bakery, etc.))
• Continue using the menus at the left until you get to the report or statistics you want.

Sources for Industry News and Trends:

ABI/Inform Complete:
Includes citations and summaries and full text from about 1000 business periodicals that contain company and industry information, as well as articles on many other business topics. Includes the full text of the Wall Street Journal.

Business Source Complete:
Focuses on facts, figures, events and market information about companies, industries, products and markets. It covers all industries and is international in scope. Also provides SWOT analyses for companies and industries. Includes the full text of the Harvard Business Review.

LexisNexis Academic:
Use the Search the News section for business news from national and international sources.

Now and Next - Top Trends: Top trends in a variety of industries.

Statistics/Market Share:

A database of statistics and data on industries, companies, market share, consumers, and much, much more. Data is viewable in different graph forms, and there are industry reports for certain industries.

‍‍‍Finding Other Businesses in your Industry:

Reference USA:
Create lists of businesses within industries by using city, state, zip code, and more! To start: Click on U.S. Businesses. Then click Custom Search. On the next screen, you can create your own search form to search for industry keywords, plus geographical terms like city, state, zip code, etc.


RMA Annual Statement Studies Includes financial statistics and ratios, as well as comparative historical data and current data ranked by sales. Call number: HF 5681 B2 R6 

Almanac of Business and Industrial Financial Ratios. Call number: HG 5681 R25 T68 (held at the Reference Desk)

RMA Industry Norms (via OneSource web site)


Click on the link for OneSource above

On the next screen, select OneSource again:



Next, use the Industries search to find an industry that interests you

When you click on your industry, on the left side of the screen you will see RMA Industry Ratios. Click there to view the ratios.

Selected Websites for Industry Information: (industry news):
County Business Patterns (industry information on the sub-national level):
Price’s List of Lists:
Net Resources International:
U.S. Census Bureau Current Industrial Reports: