A general guide to doing business research

Getting Started: Industry Research

There are many resources you can use the research an industry. For more detailed instructions on conducting company research, please consult our Industry Research guide which covers how to locate:

  • Industry Codes (NAICS/SIC)
  • Industry Reports
  • Industry Associations
  • and more

Questions to Ask: Industry Research

  • Is there more than one way to describe the industry? Different resources may describe industries in different manners. While some resources may discuss an industry in broad terms, others may focus on more specific portions of that industry. For example, you may need to retrieve information on the retail industry, department stores, variety stores, or discount department stores depending upon the source used.
  • What Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) or North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code(s) identify the industry? SIC/NAICS Codes are used in many directories and industry resources to provide a more consistent manner of identifying industries.

To look up codes by keyword, use the following sites.

  • NAICS website
    Use this site to search for NAICS codes.
    Note: It can be tricky to find the right wording. Try variants- cell phone vs. mobile phone vs. wireless communications, etc.
  • SIC Lookup
    Use this U.S. Department of Labor site to search for an industry code by keyword, or look up an SIC code.

What level of detail is needed regarding the industry? Do you need a brief overview or a more in-depth analysis of the industy? Different databases will delve into greater specificity than others, be on the lookout for detailed industry profiles.

Industry Databases