1. Identify the Industry
2. Locate Industry Surveys, Overviews & Reports
3. Find Current News and In-depth Articles About the Industry
Articles published in leading business magazines, trade journals and newspapers often provide added depth and insight into an industry’s structure, strategy and competition. Factiva has complete coverage of industry news and articles. Lexis-Nexis has both current news and business articles. Both ABI/INFORM and Business Source Elite index, abstract and provide full-text for leading English-language business and trade magazines and journals. The Wall Street Journal covers all major industry developments.
4. Visit Industry Web sites and Leading Industry and Trade Associations
Nearly every type of business has one or more trade or professional associations to promote its interests and provide a forum to collect and share information. Use Business.com to find important industry-related Web sites, publications and associations. IndustryLink specializes in identifying and linking to industrial Web sites. Search engines and directories (Google, LookSmart, Yahoo, etc.) can easily identify relevant sites. Articles often mention trade and industry associations by name that can then be looked up in these sources. S&P’s Industry Surveys has a section devoted to industry references.
5. Look for Business-to-Business Marketplaces
Advances in IT have led to the proliferation of the Business-to-Business (B2B) Marketplaces which facilitate electronic commerce by optimizing merchandising, pricing and inventory information. B2Bs are virtual business communities that keep members up-to-date on news and issues that concern their industry, offer buyers’ guides, storefronts, auctions, training, education, career guidance and other services. Some industries have their own “portals”, such as ChemIndustry which claims to be the worldwide search engine of the chemical industry (take it with a grain of salt). Jayde.com is a B2B search engine. B2BToday.com is a searchable directory of B2B sites.
6. Make a List of Leading Companies (Rankings)
Hoover's Online provides information on leading companies and their top competitors. Gale's Directory Library provides access to several publications that rank companies including Ward’s Business Directory and the Market Share Reporter.
7. Find Market Share Data and Other Industry Statistics
TableBase is a good source for market share data and data on many other facets of industries. Tables cover market share, rankings, forecasts, shipments, output, consumption, users, exports, imports, capacity and more. You can specify “Market Share” as a Concept term in your search. “Market Shares” is used as a descriptor in the ABI/INFORM records. Most of the articles databases can be searched for market share and other industry data. Gale Directory Library includes access to the Market Share Reporter. You can also use Lexis Nexis Statistical Universe to identify sources of industry statistics. S&P’s Industry Surveys are filled with key data on the industries covered. Passport GMID (Euromonitor) contains over a million demographic, economic and marketing statistics for 205 countries worldwide. The historic and forecast statistics enable you to build detailed country profiles and analyze trends from 1977-2015. SimplyMap is a geodemographic database that enables you to map consumer, demographics, and business variables in custom maps and reports.
8. Use 10-Ks from Leading Companies to Gain Industry Insight
The Form 10-K is the annual report that U.S. public companies must file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In the Business Overview Section companies are required to discuss the nature of competition in their industry. This section often delivers key insights into the competitive factors that shape an industry. You can retrieve 10-Ks from numerous sources, including Hoover’s Online, Factiva's Company Reports section or the SEC’s EDGAR database.
9. Compare Company/Industry Norms and Financial Ratios
Hoover's provides company/industry ratio comparison reports. Click on Financials in a company report and then on Competition to find a company’s most recent ratios compared to its top competitors. Standard & Poor's Industry Surveys include key industry ratios and statistics.
10. Putting It All Together
Now that you are familiar with the key databases and selected Web sites that are important for industry research, good luck searching, analyzing and putting all the pieces of the puzzle together.