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BA 101 Intro to Business & World Affairs: Industry

Industry Research Tips

Depending on the particular industry you are researching on, information availability can vary greatly. You will probably need to use a range of information sources and include both quantitative (statistics) and qualitative information (descriptive). A few tips:

  • Identify the relevant North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code. Many library resources and government websites provide industry information based on the NAICS code.
  • For industry reports, start with IBISWorld, Business Source Premier, and Business Insights.
  • To get more consumer-related information on an industry, use Mintel or Passport.
  • It can be challenging to find readily available information on niche or emerging industries. In that case, try researching the broader (e.g., buttons industry -> clothing accessories) or related/competing industry.
  • Most of the industry information in library databases is based on a country (e.g., Sportswear in the US), rather than a state or city. For regional/local information, check local newspapers (e.g., Portland Business Journal) or government websites (e.g., economic development agency). 
  • Trade associations and trade journals can sometimes provide information not found elsewhere. 


Industry classification systems are created to promote data comparability. They are often featured in books, databases, and government websites. NAICS (current version) and SIC (older version) are the most widely used in the U.S., although many sources also have their own systems.

Industry Profiles & Market Research Reports



Useful Websites



Industry/Trade Associations

An industry association is established to advocate for the industry and associated companies. They collect and provide unique data/articles/reports. Sometimes these sources are on their websites for free.

To find the industry association websites:

  • Do a Google search with keywords followed by "association".
  • Industry profiles in library databases may have a section for related associations.
  • Use the following directories. 

Sizing the Market

Market research reports databases like Mintel and Passport have information on market size. 

However, it's not always easy to find size information on a narrow/niche or emerging markets. When that happens, search for Business Source Premier and LexisNexis to see if the info is mentioned in articles. Search websites of relevant industry associations. Google is great at picking up news, blog posts, and press releases that may mention specific numbers.

You may also need to infer from broader market data and come up with your own estimates. Below are two tutorials on how to size a market: