All of the sources listed in this guide can be used to various degrees no matter the industry. Some industries are going to be difficult to research because:
- There may be only a few players — the fewer the players the smaller the pool of information the more companies hold onto data.
- It may be a small part of a larger industry — it could be that the industry is too integral to be considered separately or that it is dominated by only a few players.
- It may be dominated by private industry — industries dominated by private industry are going to be loathe to give up information.
If the company is a large public company, looking at its filings with the Securities & Exchange Commission can be useful. For instance the annual 10K may have some useful information in the "Business section" and the "Management Discussion & Analysis" section, as well as in filings for new issuances, and even in 8Ks. In cases where the industry is difficult to track, these filings can be useful even if a company has only a part of its business involved in that industry. These sectors of their business are widely written about if for no other reason than there are people and companies that want to invest in the companies and want to know about them.
Some of the best sources for information on a specific industry are done by consulting firms like DataMonitor or BizMiner, or publishers like SNL/Kagan. Plunkett, or Platts. It should be noted, however, that while industry reports may be available directly from such publishers or from aggregators like Marketresearch.com, these reports can be quite expensive.
Issue 9/10: Summer/Fall 2007
Updated January 2013
Guide to Industry Research
Table of Contents
Industry Sources - United States Government
Industry Sources - General
Industry Sources - Historical
Smoke stack of TVA chemical plant, 1942.
Prints and Photographs Division
Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-fsac-1a35277
However, in the cases listed above, getting creative is important because information will be harder to obtain and most likely come in small pieces from article and other sources. Piecing together information from article searches in trade magazines or local papers as well as information gleaned from government agencies that might regulate the industry will be important. Looking at the association(s) that may cover the industry can provide guidance. Such groups may have some publication/reports that are available directly from the group either for free or for a fee but which may also be found in a library.
Last Updated: 01/08/2013