UCB Libraries

Industry Research Guide

  • Industry
  • Trade Groups
    & Publications
  • Industry
  • Rankings, Ratios
    & Benchmarks
  • Statistics
    & More


Industry Profiles and Surveys - Online Sources

Industry surveys can be used for information about the current business environment, regulations, developments, and issues that impact companies operating within that industry. A good industry survey will explain how the industry operates, who the leading companies are, and facts about suppliers and regulations.


Best Sources for Industry Surveys


Standard & Poor's Net Advantage

Net Advantage offers Standard & Poor's Industry Surveys for over 50 industries, plus a number of sub-industry reviews. An explanation on how to find industry information in the Net Advantage system is found here. Information about the content is available here.


Business Insights: Global

Business Insights: Global includes content from the most current editions of The Encyclopedia of American Industries, The Encyclopedia of Emerging Industries, and The Encyclopedia of Global Industries. Search this database by industry name, NAICS code, or by product, then choose "industry profile" from the list to the left of the results.


Hoover's VPN icon

First Research Industry Profiles are available both in Hoovers and as PDFs from ProQuest. Search by industry name or NAICS code.


Additional Sources for Industry Surveys

As you do your research, think broadly and creatively about where your target fits. Some industries are too new or too odd to fit into an established category. It doesn't hurt to look at more than one industry survey.


Business Source Complete

This database is excellent for scholarly articles and general business publications, but it also has plenty of industry and market content. Search by NAICS code (change the dropdown box to "IC NAICS Code or Description") and filter results using the facets to the left of the results list.



Factiva has some industry data in their industry snapshots. From the search page, choose "Companies/Markets" then "Industry" and choose from the list.


Frost & Sullivan

This database offers industry data, market research, and forecasts. Strong in medical, engineering, biotech, and information & communication technology (ICT) research.

NOTE: Frost & Sullivan requires user sign-in. You will be prompted to enter your first and last name, as well as a valid University of Colorado email address.


Mergent WebReports VPN icon

Mergent WebReports provides lengthy in-depth coverage of twenty-four industy sectors including Biotechnology, Insurance, Media, and Property & Development. To get to the industry reports, choose the Industry Report Search tab and search by company name, region, or industry. Reports are updated every six months and are consistent in format.



Industry Profiles - Print Sources


Plunkett Research Almanacs

Each almanac produced by Plunkett Research (www.plunkettresearch.com) offers a comprehensive industry overview with trends, statistics, and a directory of major companies operating in the industry. Also included is an industry glossary.



To find other Plunkett Research Almanacs through the library catalog, click this link.




Trade Groups

Trade associations are often the only place to find current statistics or trends for an industry. Trade associations (also called trade groups, industry groups, business associations, etc.) exist at the local, regional, national, or international level. Many trade associations publish newsletters or journals geared toward the members: practitioners in the industry. Trade journals are very useful for learning the vocabulary of an industry, the key players, and current issues or trends.


Trade Publications

Best Sources for Trade Publications


Business & Industryhas full-text articles from trade and business publications. Good for industry trends, marketing, strategy, operations, and management best practices.

Business Source Complete

Factiva features full-text articles from major world business and financial news sources, company reports, and financial market information. The search interface can be tricky, but the scope of coverage is unmatched.

Lexis Nexis Academic provides full-text articles, news transcripts, country economic and political risk reports, and legal cases. Learn all about how to find exactly what you need through the LexisNexis video tutorials: http://www.youtube.com/user/LexisNexisAcademic




One tool for finding industry information is the industry classification code. Many databases allow you to search by industry code. Doing so ensures relevant results.

NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) and its precursor SIC (Standard Industrial Classification) are a means for organizing disparate business into a category about which statistics and data can be collected.


The main standard is the NAICS system, but some agencies and databases continue to use the SIC system for retrieving data. Learn more and search the codes using the links below.

NAICS: North American Industry Classification System


SIC: Standard Industrial Classification

Think broadly and creatively about where your target fits. Some industries are too new or too odd to fit into an established category.


If you have trouble finding the right code, you can always look for a similar/competing company in a database such as Reference USA or Hoover's VPN iconand find the codes there.



Industry Ratios and Financial Benchmarks

Industry Ratios are often used as benchmarks for business or financial projections. The three sources below are available at the Business Library Circulation Desk.



Sometimes you can find industry ratios in an industry survey. The two databases below are your best sources for finding industry ratios online.



Rankings and Market Share

Business Insights: Global

This database includes content from Business Rankings Annual and Market Share Reporter.



In addition to general "Top 10" lists and brand share rankings, there are hundreds of lists covering a huge range of (sometimes unexpected) topics.


Ward's Business Directory

This print source is searchable by company name or SIC code. Excellent source for market share data on larger companies.


Local Business Rankings

Two annual publications offer business rankings at the local level. Topics include fastest-growing public and private companies, women- and minority-owned businesses, best places to work, and profiles of local entrepreneurs and philanthropists.

Boulder County Business Report Book of Lists
The 2012 edition is available online through one of our databases.

Denver Business Journal Book of Lists

The Denver Business Journal also produces an annual Giving Guide, which lists Colorado non-profits, cultural organizations, and foundations.





ProQuest Statistical Insight

Index with detailed descriptions of 100,000+ U. S. federal and state government and private statistical publications. Search by keyword, industry name, or NAICS code (NOTE: Only the 2002 and 2007 versions of NAICS codes work at this time). This is a great source for numbers from government agencies and trade groups.

ProQuest has a Quick Start guide for this database here.


The US Census Bureau is a phenomenal resource for industry research and statistics.

  • How many wool socks were produced in the first quarter of 2011? Were cotton socks more popular? It's easy to find out through the Current Industrial Reports page: http://www.census.gov/manufacturing/cir/index.html.
  • Are there more wind farms in Colorado or Texas? Find the answer in an Industry Snapshot from the Economic Census.
  • The statistical powerhouse of the Census Bureau is American FactFinder. Use the "Quick Search" box to search by NAICS code or industry description.



Market Research
Market research reports are fantastic places to find information about industry trends, key players, and market share. The databases below are the main sources for finding market research reports.

Frost & Sullivan
This database offers market research reports and forecasts. Strong in medical, engineering, biotech, and information & communication technology (ICT) research.
NOTE: Frost & Sullivan requires user sign-in to access the reports, simply enter your first and last name, as well as a valid University of Colorado email address.

Mintel Market Reports
This database contains information on consumer trends, demographic profiles, brand share dynamics and market drivers. Search by product, lifestyle attribute, or company.

NOTE: Use is restricted to current UCB students and faculty with a valid Colorado.edu email address. After agreeing to the academic terms of use, click the link for "create a personal profile" and create an account using your Colorado.edu email address.