Guide for Kickstart Weekend: Industry/Market Research

Common Challenges & Research Strategies

  • Issue #1: Information availability depends on the specific industry. Not every industry is covered in all databases. There may not be a report on an emerging or niche industry in any database. Reports found via Google may not be available through the Library. 
  • Strategy: Broaden your search (e.g., instead of the "buttons industry", find information on "clothing accessories") or look up information in related/competing industries. Think about your target customers and what else they may like to do then research that market (you will need to make some educated assumptions). Do article/Web search. Look up Form S-1 or 10K of a public company in the same industry.
  • Issue #2: Different databases may call the same industry differently. Even NAICS codes can be different as they are assigned by the research firms that produced the reports/data. 
  • Strategy: Brainstorm synonyms, be flexible in your search, or search by company name (main players) or prominent brand names.
  • Issue #3: 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). Get information from a few different sources and come up with your own estimate. 
  • Issue #4: 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. 

Useful Websites

Industry & Market Research Reports



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. For example, in the IBISWorld report, look under the External Environment -> Assistance -> Non-government section.