Industry Reports

Industry Reports provide information on how an industry works, the major companies in the industry, and overall trends.

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As part of their advocacy function, Industry Associations often provide information on regulatory issues, overall industry sales, and trends. You can find most associations in Associations Unlimited, which provides additional information such as founding date and number of members, or via an internet search.

Trade Journals are a great source to keep up-to-date with industry movers and to grasp an overall tenor of the industry. Set up email alerts or RSS feeds to make it easy to see what new products are coming out, what people are coming or going, and more.

Economic Statistics

Economic trends affect all aspects of business. Find GDP, consumer sentiment, unemployment, CPI, PMI, and other indicators via the following sources. 

Key Concepts

Industry codes are used to organize industries into groups and hierarchies. In most business resources, companies are assigned an industry code from one of the 3 major systems listed below. Use these codes to find competitors or research the industry as a whole.

  • NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) 
    • Used by federal statistical agencies and databases like IBISworld.
    • Sectors are at the two-digit level and as the number gets longer, the industry becomes more specified.
    • For example, 22 is for Utilities; 2211 for Electric Power Generation; 221113 for Nuclear Electric Power Generation. 
  • SIC - Replaced by the NAICS in 1997, SIC was developed in the late 1930s/early 1940s as a way to classify industries. 
  • GICS - The Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS®) was developed by MSCI and Standard & Poor's (S&P). Designed specifically for the global financial community, the GICS structure consists of 10 sectors, 24 industry groups, 67 industries and 156 sub-industries.

Difference between market research and industry research can sometimes be confusing.

Market Research is research about the consumers of an industry. For example, market resarch on the automobile industry would look at:

  • Demographics of car buyers including things like age and income
  • Market drivers
  • Brand share

Industry Research is research about the firms operating within that industry. For example, industry research on the automobile industry would look at:

  • Companies like Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai, and Toyota
  • Overall industry growth prospects
  • Regulatory and technological trends that may affect the industry