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Design Thinking/Innovation/Entrepreneurship Cluster: Industry

Common Issues & Research Strategies

  • Issue: Information availability depends on the specific industry. Not every industry is covered in all databases, and there may not be a report on a very new/niche industry in any database.
  • Strategy: Broaden your search or look up information in related/competing industries. Do article/Web search.
  • Issue: Different databases may call the same industry differently.
  • Strategy: Brainstorm synonyms or search by company name (main players). 
  • Issue: Even on the same industry, numbers from different databases may not be the same, due to difference in scope, time period, source, or methodology. 
  • Strategy: Make sure you understand how a particular report defines the industry, and what the numbers mean (e.g., production vs. retail sales).
  • Issue: Most databases provide industry/market information on the national level rather than local.  
  • Strategy: Make educated assumptions, consult Census industry data by state, do article/Web search for info on local markets. 

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. 

Industry Profiles & Market Research Reports