Industry Definition and Analysis

home | economic & legal | company organization | company history | ethics

Defining the industry top

Many sources use numerical industry classification systems to organize information on industries and companies. The most commonly used ones in the U.S. are the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) scheme and the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). NAICS replaced the SIC system in 1997, but many sources still use SICs. Other sources use words to define industries: air transport, apparel, banking, etc.

Using SIC/NAICS codes can be problematic in that individual companies may be involved in numerous industries or products as defined by these codes. Another potential problem is that SIC/NAICS codes may be too broad, burying details about individual products in a miscellaneous category.

Standard Industrial Classification Manual
UNI Reference HF 1041 U613 1987
This is a guide to the Standard Industrial Classification system developed by the U.S. government to standardize reporting of industry and company data. As noted above, it is being replaced by the NAICS system, but many reference sources continue to use SIC codes. A detailed alphabetical product index can help in finding the right code.

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)
UNI Reference HF 1042 N67 2002
NAICS is a system that provides common industry definitions for the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. It is gradually replacing the SIC system in the United States. It includes a table that translates SIC codes to NAICS codes and vice versa. A detailed alphabetical product index can help in finding the right code.

Standard & Poor's Industry Surveys via *NetAdvantage
*Value Line Investment Survey
Hoover's Industries

Other sources such as these develop their own word breakdowns of industries. Hoover's, for example, divides companies into industry breakdowns such as aerospace, automotive, and banking.


How to determine the NAICSs and SICs for a particular company? Company directories often include such codes. Sources that develop other industry breakdowns usually have some kind of index or search capability for finding the closest industry.

*Business Insights: Global
Company profiles include NAICS industries in which the company operates. 

Overview and trends top

The following sources provide textual and numerical profiles and in some cases analyses and forecasts for various industries.

Encyclopedia of American Industries
Newest editions in *Business and Company Resource Center; see Advanced Search/Industry Overviews Content Area
UNI Reference HC 102 E53
For more than 1,000 industries, explains structure and organization, current conditions, background and development, leading companies, level of U.S. and international activity, and labor force characteristics.

*IBISWorld
Contains reports on around 680 industries at the five-digit NAICS level. Typical industry report addresses: market characteristics such as market size, demand and supply linkages, demand determinants, and basis of competition; product and service segmentation; barriers to entry; cost structure; key competitors; forecasts; and so on.

Standard & Poor's Industry Surveys via *NetAdvantage
Each of 52 industry chapters describes the current environment by profiling the industry, discussing industry trends and how the industry operates, giving industry ratios and statistics, and explaining how to analyze a company in the industry. Lists additional industry references and provides composite industry and company financial data.

*Value Line Investment Survey

Provides one to two page analyses of industries, including one to three year forecasts of industry sales and other financial factors. Industry pages are followed by pages on companies in the industry.

Industry size and other statistics top

The U.S. government conducts economic and demographic surveys and censuses. The economic census is very detailed but conducted only in years ending in 2 and 7; less detailed surveys are conducted annually and monthly. Many trade journals, trade associations, and other research organizations gather industry and product data. FedStats serves as an index to statistics in U.S. government publications, and Statistical Universe indexes statistics in U.S. government publications as well as other governmental and private sources. Trade journals are indexed in various tools such as Business & Company Resource Center and ABI/INFORM Global.

Annual Survey of Manufactures. Statistics for Industry Groups and Industries
Data includes number of employees, value added, and shipments.

Business Statistics of the United States
UNI Reference HC 101 A1313
Includes time series data, often on a monthly or quarterly basis, for major U.S. industries.

Current Industrial Reports
Provides data such as quantity and value of shipments, arranged by NAICS codes.

Economic Census
Includes data such as sales, number of establishments, and number of employees for retail, wholesale, manufacturing, construction, transportation, and other major industries. Reports for 2007 will be released from December 2008 through 2011.

Stat-USA
This U.S. Dept. of Commerce site provides some statistics for no charge; other sources, such as National Trade Data Bank and Economic Bulletin Board are available for a fee. The fee databases can be accessed at Rod Library.

Statistical Abstract of the United States
UNI Reference Desk HA 202 U58 (most recent); Latest 2 in UNI
Reference; Earlier in UNI Documents)
Library has: 1878-1892, 1894-1926, 1928-
Provides statistics on major U.S. industries.

Leading companies in an industry top

Several of the sources in the above sections list the leading companies in particular industries. Here are a few examples:

*Business Insights: Global
An SIC or NAICS search retrieves an international listing of leading companies in the industry, ranked by revenue. The search can be limited to leading companies in particular countries or states as well.

Mergent's Industry Review
UNI Reference HG 4961 M68
Ranks 3,500 companies in 137 industries by various financial criteria.

Standard & Poor's Industry Surveys via *NetAdvantage
Industry chapters rank companies by factors such as revenue and return on assets.

Business Rankings Annual
UNI Reference HG4050 .B88
Market Share Reporter
UNI Reference HF5410 .M35
Provide rankings and market share data as published in various print and online sources. Sources of data are given at bottom of tables. Also available online in *Business & Company Resource Center.

Analyst and "off the shelf" market research reports top

*Business Insights: Global
Company entries include Reuters Research on Demand reports by analysts at investment banks, brokerage firms, and similar organizations. Company investment reports sometimes include industry information such as industry structure, social and economic trends, competitors, and forecasts and projections, both U.S. and international.

*Mintel Reports
Contains market reports on hundreds of consumer products. About half of reports cover U.S. markets, half non-U.S. Typical reports include data such as market drivers, market size and trends, segments, supply structure, retail distribution, consumer profiles, and forecasts. Must register and create personal password.

Company v. industry: financial and operating ratios top

Another page, Financial and Operating Ratios, lists additional sources of ratios for industries and specific companies. Many of the following go back many years in time.

Almanac of Business and Industrial Financial Ratios
UNI Reference HF 5681 R25 T68
Compiled from 4.6 million corporate federal income tax returns, this source provides 50 ratios for 179 industries. Includes separate ratio tables for all companies and for those which made a profit within each industry. Figures also are broken down by size of companies. Published annually, it is the only publicly available source based on statements of all active U.S. corporations.

*Mergent Online
Provides financial and narrative description and analysis of about 10,000 publicly held U.S. companies. In Advanced Search, can look up companies by SIC code and create customized tables that show variables of interest for all companies or for a specific company in comparison with other companies in the industry.

*Value Line Investment Survey
Contains six years of financial data and ratios for 95 industries. Also contains up to 16 years of financials for about 2,200 companies. Pages for industries and companies include forecasts out to 2005. Includes beta.

Articles from scholarly journals, trade journals, and newspapers top

*ABI/INFORM
Indexes about 1,550 periodicals; provides full text or image for about 820. Indexes industries by its own classification code system and also by subject headings; classification codes and subject headings are listed under Search Guide. Class code search example: cc(8100) to retrieve articles on financial services industry. Subject heading search example: su(beverage industry).

*Business Insights: Global
Indexes about 3,500 business journals and magazines, investment reports, and press releases. Full text of articles available online for about 2,500 of the indexed periodicals.

*LexisNexis Academic
Business section includes articles divided into 25 industry categories.

*LexisNexis Congressional
Indexes Congressional publications such as reports, bills, and the Congressional Record; provides laws such as statutes and regulations; and also provides the transcripts of testimony before Congress. The testimony search makes it possible to search for testimony by specific executives and by representatives of particular companies and industries.

*Wall Street Journal via *ABI/INFORM
The ABI/INFORM database contains the full text of articles from the Wall Street Journal back to 1984. Today's issue is available early in the morning. After logging on, do a Publication Search to go to particular issues of the Journal. Alternatively, limit search results to newspapers.

Book-length studies and related publications top

The Rod Library book and government publications collection includes scholarly and popular coverage of many industries. Use UNISTAR, the library catalog, to identify works such as State of Competition in the Airline Industry : Hearing Before the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives and Economics of the U.S. Commercial Airline Industry.

Trade associations and industry web sites top

Some trade associations and other industry group gather data and report news on their industries.

ASAE Gateway to Associations Online
Directories of association web sites.

Encyclopedia of Associations and *Business & Company Resource Center/Advanced
UNI Reference Desk AS 22 E5
Most comprehensive single directory of associations. Includes pointers to web pages.

Encyclopedia of Business Information Sources
UNI Reference HF 5351 E59
Lists major information sources, including associations and trade journals, in various industries.

Business.com
Directory of some 400,000 business-related web pages in 25,000 categories. Industry categories include listings such as associations, reference sources, companies in the industry.

Industry Home Pages (Polsen Enterprises)
Directory of industry oriented web sites.

Market Research (U.S. Government Export Portal)
Multi-agency U.S. government source with reports on countries, markets, and industries. Requires registration.

top

Nov. 12, 2010 SL