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Industry Research Step By Step: Industry Research Step By Step

Industry Research


1.  Identify your industry.

     (Keep in mind that some companies are involved in many industries).

  • Find the NAICS (North American Industry Classification system) Code.  The North American Industry Classification System is the standard used by the Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments.  The 2007 U.S. NAICS Manual includes definition for each industry, background information, tables showing changes between the 2002 and 2007, and a comprehensive index.
  • Find the SIC (Standard Industrial Classification) Code. Please note that most business databases are using the NAICS Code to replace the SIC Code.  In some databases, you can still use the SIC Code to find information about your industry.
  • You can also start looking up information about a specific company engaged in the industry. UCF Libraries subscribe to these databases to find company information - Hoovers Online, LexisNexis - Company Dossier, Business & Company Resource Center, MarketLine Advantage, NetAdvantage. 

2.  Locate Industry Surveys, Overviews and Reports.

Industry Overviews - Use these sources to find information about a particular industry.  Someone contemplating to purchase a fast-food franchise, for example, would need not only information about the financial well-being of the franchisor, but also information about the fast-food and restaurant industry in general.  Depth of coverage for the sources below varies, but usually includes a review of the industry' past performance, a description of the current situation, and future projections.

  • IbisWorld Industry Market Research.  Provides instant access to over 700 US industries - everything from Shoes Stores to Gold Ore Mining and all industries in between.
  • Standard & Poor's Industry SurveysAccess available through NetAdvantage.  Provides comprehensive reports on more than 50 industries. Written by industry experts, each report begins with a survey of the current environment followed by a profile of the industry, a discussion of industry trends, an explanation of how the industry operates, key industry ratios and statistics, an invaluable section detailing how to analyze a company in the industry, and concluding with a glossary, industry references and comparative company statistics. 
  • Business Insights: Essentials (formerly Business & Company Resource Center).  Provides a collection of industry information, including articles, financials, brand information, rankings, investment reports, company histories, and chronologies.
  • MarketLine AdvantageAn international market research database providing thousands of in-depth industry reports, company, and country information.
  • Mintel Current.  Provides hundreds of market research reports covering the U.S., UK and European consumer markets and lifestyles.
  • ValueLine Research Center.  Provides comprehensive source of information and advise on approximately 1,700 stocks in 98 industries, the stock market, and the economy.  Timely one-page overviews of each industry is provided.
  • ABI/INFORM Archive, Dateline, Global, Trade & Industry.  Search this database for reports on industries and markets from the following sources - Business Monitor International (BMI) Industry Reports, First Research (D&B), and Just-Series Market Research Report.
  • Business Source Premier now has international market research and industry reports from Datamonitor.

3.  Locate Leading Companies and their Competitors.

Use these sources to find who the industry leaders are.  These databases will provide a list of leading companies and their competitors, worldwide company report, company ranking and market share. 

  • Hoovers Online. Provides information on leading companies and their competitors. 
  • Business Insights: Essentials (formerly Business & Company Resource Center).  Detailed company and industry profiles including SWOT reports, market share reports, and financial reports. SWOT reports provide analysis of hundreds of US and international companies.   
  • LexisNexis Company Dossier. Company Dossier is part of LexisNexis Academic business information solutions including: legal, corporate, government, law enforcement, tax, accounting, academic, and risk and compliance assessment.

4.  Locate Demographic and Market Share Data and Other Industry Statistics

  • Social Explorer contains over 18,000 maps, hundreds of profile reports, 40 billion data elements, 335,000 variables and 220 years of data. Interactive mapping and reporting tools let you explore a vast array of demographic data quickly and easily. (Five concurrent users only)
  • Explore religion in every county, state and the United States.
  • American Community Surveys 5-Year Estimates (available down to the Census Block Group geography) data plus Social Explorer tables which include easy reports with age, sex, race, Hispanic origin, household relationship, place of birth, education, employment status, income, tenure, cost and value of housing, year structure built and other data.
  • Census 2010 (PL94 Data) data files contain summary data down to the census block  geographic level.
  • Simply Map  Mapping application that enables users to develop interactive thematic maps and reports using thousands of demographic, business, and marketing data variables.  Create a SimplyMap account if you wish to save your work access other user account features. 5 Concurrent users. (Use your UCF Knights Email Account)
  • Demographic Variables - Population, Age, Race, Income, Ancestry, Marital Status, Housing, Employment, Transportation, Families, and more.
  • Historical Census Data - Historical census data: including 1980, 1990 & 2000, plus  current year census estimates and 5 year projections.
  • Business and Marketing Variables Detailed Consumer Expenditure, Consumer Price Index,  Quality of Life & Consumer Profiles, Business & Employee Counts by industry, and EASI© Market Segments & Life Stages.
  • Mediamark Research’s (MRI©) Survey of the American Consumer™: EASI, using MRI survey   data, produces local estimates of usage and consumption (propensity) for thousands of specific and detailed products and services.
  • PRIZM™ from Nielson Claritas: defines every U.S. Household in terms of 66 demographic and behavior types or segments to help marketers discern those customers' likes, dislikes, lifestyles, and purchasing behaviors.
  • Experian SimmonsLOCAL: a powerful targeting and profiling system that provides insights into consumer behavior for all of America's 210 media markets on a local level with 60,000+ data variables, including over 450 categories and 8,000 specific brands.
  • DemographicsNow Library Edition. Offers up-to-date resources on demographics and extensive market-level information.
  • Business Insights: Essentials .  Provides  access to several publications that rank companies including Market Share Reporter and Business Rankings Annual
  • NetAdvantage (Standard & Poor's)Provides comprehensive reports on individual companies and more than 50 industries. Search "Stock Reports" on a specific company to find information on market profile, and competitive landscape.  Search "Company Profile" to find list of all competitors or list of competitors covered in S&P.
  • IbisWorld Industry Market Research.  Provides comprehensive reports 700 US industries.  Each report covers "Competitive Landscape" and list of "Major Companies" including the individual company's percentage of Market Share.
  • MarketLine AdvantageAn international market research database that offers both company reports with market share data and other statistics.  The industry reports include market value, market volume, and market share.

5.  Porter's Five Competitive Forces.

The state of competition in an idustry depends on five basic competitive forces - buyer power, supplier power, threats of new entrants, threats of substitute products or services, and rivalry among existing firms.

  • MarketLine AdvantageReady-made analyses for specific industries using Porter's Five Force.
  • ABI/INFORM Archive, Dateline, Global, Trade & Industry.  This database includes industry reports from First Research, a Dun & Bradstreet Company. Porters Forces are not explicitly stated but report includes Business Challenges (changing demographics, liabilities, competition, cash flow, etc.) and Trends and Opportunities.

6.  In-depth Articles about the Industry.

Articles published in leading business journals, magazines and newpapers provide additional sources of in-depth industry information.  UCF Libraries subscribe to the following databases.

7.  Industry Norms and Financial Ratios.

  • Almanac of Business & Industrial Financial Ratios -
  • Industry Norms & Key Business Rations 
  • RMA Annual Statement Studies: Published by Robert Morris Associates.
  • Hoover's Online provides company/industry ratio comparison reports.

8.  Industry Websites including Trade Associations.

Nearly every type of business has one or more trade or professional associations to promote its interests, share and collect information.

  • Associations Unlimited.  Use this database to locate approximately 460,000 international and U.S. membership organizations in all fields.
  • You may also use Google, Yahoo Directory, and other internet search engines to identify these sites.

Subject Guide

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Ven Basco
University of Central Florida, John C. Hitt Library, Research and Information Services Department

Work: 407-823-5048

Fax: 407-823-5865