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Industry & Market Research: Industry Profiles/Data


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.

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. 

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:

Select Reference Books on Specific Industries

Industry Profiles & Market Research Reports



Useful Websites