This guide is an introduction to sources used to research industries. It highlights some of the key research tools available but it is not intended as a comprehensive list of sources. The sources listed below are available in print or electronically at the Peter F. Bronfman Business Library, or York University students, faculty and staff may access the electronic resources remotely by signing on with their Passport York ID. Research staff in the library are pleased to offer assistance to members of the York University community, either in person, by phone, IM Chat or by email.
You will find that there is lots of information from a number of sources on many industries and almost nothing on other industries. Generally speaking there are reports on the larger well established industries and perhaps only articles and limited information on smaller, niche industries. A search on the Internet may turn up reports on an industry but unless it is published in our subscription databases you may only have access to it, if you purchase it. We regret that the Bronfman Business Library does not have funds to purchase industry reports for students. However, please check with our reference staff as we may know of similar reports available in the many databases to which we do subscribe.
To get information on manufacturing processes consult Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Processes.
This guide is divided into the following sections:
The Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) is a useful tool for identifying key companies within an industry and conceptualizing the industry as a whole. SIC codes group together companies based on the goods and services produced.
North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)
The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is an industrial classification system common to Canada, United States and Mexico. Gradually, the SIC system will be phased out in favour of the NAIC system. There are some differences however so if questions arise you will need to refer to:
Canada – NAICS 2012
SIC codes are still used in a number of databases and print reference resources. In some cases, the SIC codes used in Canada differ from those used in the U.S. A print version of the SIC table of codes is found in the Canadian Key Business Directory available in the Bronfman Business Library Reference Room. The Line of Business section groups Canadian businesses by SIC code. SIC codes for Canada are also available on Statistics Canada’s web site .
U.S. Census Bureau: NAICS
Searching Databases by Industry Classification Codes
The following are two examples of searching using classification codes.
Infomart supports searching by Global Industry Classification Standards (GICS). Click on Companies by Industry or Industry Reports in the left navbar. If searching Companies by Industry you will get a list of companies. If searching Industry Reports you will get quarterly results by leading companies and an industry data bank which may be used for benchmarking.
To identify competitors internationally, Mergent Online can be searched by SIC or NAICS or MIC (Mergent Industry code) from the home page and you will retrieve a list of companies or you may limit by country. Search by clicking on Report Search on the blue search bar at the top of the screen and then scroll down and select the industry. We only subscribe to North American industry reports. You will receive a detailed report and Canada and the United States are treated separately within the North American report.
Resources included in this section are ones limited to Canadian sources only. More information on Canadian industries may be available in the International section below.
Industry Canada’s website for business and industry includes industry surveys, company directories, and patent and trademark databases. Much of the information on individual industries is found under Information by Industrial Category and also via Canadian Industry Statistics (arranged by NAICS) . These are good sources for information on manufacturing industries and the high technology sector. This site is beginning to include information on service industries and e-Commerce. The SME Benchmarking Tool “is an interactive on-line financial performance tool to help new and established firms determine how your business measures up to the competition. It allows you to enter your company’s financial data confidentially and compare it to industry averages.”
Infomart : Provides information and data on the key Canadian public companies. Select Industry Reports for general industry statistics and financial ratios. Also look at Infomart Companies by Industry for a list of companies within industries.
Statistics Canada Publications . This is an index of all Statistics Canada publications available. It is divided into key subject categories including many which list publications of relevance to different industries, e.g. business, consumer and property services, energy, manufacturing, retail and wholesale and more.
Key industry ratios for Canada are also available to members of the York University community from the following Statistics Canada publications:
Quarterly Financial Statistics for Enterprises (4th Q, 2000 – present)
Older issues (1996-2000) available in print at the Scott Library (CAN1 CS8.5 61-008)
Financial and Taxation Statistics for Enterprises (1999-present)
Older issues (1995-1998) available in print at the Scott Library (CAN1 CS8.5 61-219)
CANSIM : Statistics Canada’s computerized database containing over 730,000 time series. It is a detailed source of Canadian industry data.
Business Patterns The Canadian Business Patterns contains data that reflects counts of business locations, establishments and enterprises by; employment size ranges, including “indeterminate” (as of December 1997); geography groupings: province/territory, census division, census subdivision, census metropolitan area, census agglomerations and more; and industry using the North American Industry Classification System (tables at the 2, 3, 4 and 6 digit level)
Requires Beyond 20/20 4.1+
Associations Canada : Provides a comprehensive listing of Canadian Associations. Associations may provide additional industry statistical information, contacts for individuals and companies, as well as detailed information on the industry as a whole.
For more information on market share please go to the Bronfman Business Library Market Share guide.
Bloomberg is a real-time financial service that provides current and historical data, news and financial analysis of companies, stocks, bonds, and indices.Economic statistics are also available. To search for U.S. industry information type IBQ for a list of industries available. Restricted to the York University Community and available in the Bronfman Business Library only.
Business Monitor Online : contains quarterly surveys and forecasts on industries by country and region.
Special Guide to Mining Industry Information in Business Monitor Online
GMID (Global Market Information Database by Euromonitor): Provides country statistics and profiles, lifestyle indicators and analysis, market data and analysis, and company profiles and market shares.
IBISWorld China : Includes industry reports on China.
IBISWorld USA : Includes U.S. Industry Reports (NAICS), U.S. Specialized Industry Reports, U.S. Industry iExpert Summaries, Global Industry Reports and U.S. Business Environment Profiles. The Specialized Industry Reports cover smaller more niche industries which are harder to find.
Investext Plus : A database providing global company and industry research and forecasts, reports are from key brokerage firms and consultants. To search for industry reports, click on Research at the top of the screen and the Full Search. You may search by SIC, NAICS or text. N.B. Be sure to change the report date to a longer period than the 90 day default range to retrieve a good selection of reports. USE IE BROWSER FOR FULL FUNCTIONALITY.
Marketline Advantage : Formerly Datamonitor 360, this database is divided into Industry, Country, and Company. It covers SWOT company profiles for over 2500 public and private enterprises worldwide, accessing fast and reliable insights on thousands of industry sectors including Porter’s Five Forces analysis, accessing a top-level view of the business landscape in over 110 countries.
Market Share Reporter: An annual compilation of reported market share data on companies, products and services published in periodical literature. Most of the market share information is for the United States market unless Canada is specified. Available in the Reference Room call number HF 5410 M33.
Mergent Online Provides analysis of over twenty key industries in North America including coverage for Canada and the United States. Main areas contained in each report include: the industry landscape, market trends and market outlook. To access the industry reports click on the Report Search tab within Mergent Online.
Standard & Poor’s Industry Surveys: Detailed surveys of over 50 USA industries. Coverage includes industry trends, key ratios and a guide to analyzing companies in each industry. These are available via NetAdvantage Click on the Industries tab at the top of the screen and select your industry from the drop down menu or use the drop down menu under Quick Links – Industry Surveys
Plunkett Research provides research and trends analysis on a variety of industries, including energy, e-commerce, retailing and finance. In addition to the industry reports, it includes statistics, charts and profiles of leading companies. Primarily US information but some Canadian information is available.
Value Line Investment Survey: Provides short introductory reports on each industry and detailed 1-2 page reports on the key companies in each industry. Located in the Bronfman Business Library Reference Room and the call number is HG 4501 V26.
Standard & Poors Analysts’ Handbook. Provides industry statistics and financial ratios for over 100 industries in the US. Includes income accounts and balance sheet items, as well as sales, profit margins, earnings, dividends, capital expenditures, etc… Available in the Bronfman Business Library Reference room and the call number is HG 4519 S772.
Infomart- Industry Reports(see description above)
Financial Performance Indicators: A Statistics Canada datafile containing key financial ratios by industry including the net profit margin, pretax profit margin, return on equity and liabilities to assets. Available on a stand-alone workstation in the Bronfman Business Library.
Key industry financial ratios are available from Standard & Poor’s Analyst Handbook, located in the Reference Room (HG4519 S772), from RMA’s Annual Statement Studies, and from finance.yahoo.com and from Bloomberg (available in the Bronfman Business library only).
Damodaran Industry Betas : Prof. Aswath Damodaran, Stern School of Business at New York University, has created a total betas by sector web page as well. His website has lots of other very useful and hard to find data and guides.
Public Companies Worldwide
Factiva Click on the Companies/Markets tab on the top of the screen and then click on Company and enter the name of the company. Under Snapshot, click on Reports and select either Financial Health, Ratio Comparison Report or Custom Report, etc.
Google Finance: Valuation ratios that give you industry and sector comparisons for your company are available. Search and display your company. Then scroll down and click on “more ratios from Thomson Reuters” on the left side of screen.
Hoovers Provides ratios by comparing top competitors and industry median and market median ratios. Find your company’s report in Hoovers and click on Competitive Landscape.
NetAdvantage Use the Industry Surveys drop down menu on the right hand side of the screen to select your industry and you will find comparative company analysis ratios.
Business Rankings Annual Available in the Bronfman Business Library Reference Room (HD 2709 B88)
Annual rankings by Report on Business Magazine and Financial Post Magazine rank companies within specific sectors and industries.
The following business periodicals also publish annual rankings: Forbes (HF5001 F685), Fortune (HC411 F18), Far East Economic Review (HC411 F18). The rankings are available online but difficult to read.
Information on industry trends, technological pressures, and forecasts, etc may be found by searching the following databases for newspaper and magazine articles. Help navigating these databases and/or developing your search strategy is available by contacting our research service.
Business Source Premier: contains full text for 7,500 periodicals and other sources, including scholarly journals, trade and general business magazines, monographs, country economic and industry reports, industry yearbooks, and market research reports.
Proquest Business: Simultaneously search all business & industry periodicals available through Proquest Central, including the ABI/Inform databases, concentrated publications on the pharmaceutical, banking, computing and telecommunications industries and Canadian, Asian and European business news.
Specific databases included in the Proquest suite of business databases at York University are: ABI Inform Global, ABI/Inform Trade & Industry, CBCA Business, CBCA Current Events, Proquest Asian Business and Reference, and Proquest European Business.
Computer Database: Computer industry and consumer news and developments. Contains the full text of articles appearing in various computer industry and computing periodicals such as PC magazine, along with related newsletters. Also indexes and provides abstracts to articles published in additional computer-oriented publications. Items indexed include computer product reviews, new product announcements, industry overviews, buyer’s guides, product specifications, vendor profiles and other documents.
Factiva : includes nearly 9,000 sources from 118 countries in 22 languages, including more than 120 continuously updated newswires. For newspapers, the service provides same-day and archival coverage of The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Washington Post, The Globe and Mail, National Post, Toronto Star, Financial Times, Les Echos, South China Morning Post, Australian Financial Review, Sydney Morning Herald, Straits Times, Yomiuri Shimbun, and local newspapers from every corner of the globe. Note the option to limit article search to a specific industry or when you retrieve your results use the left navigation bar to refine your results.
Lexis-Nexis Academic: Lexis-Nexis service makes available over 30,000 news, business, and legal information sources. Included are current international newspapers, as well as comprehensive company and industry reports. Information available includes trade and marketing reports, patent details, merger and acquisition analysis, country reports and industry and legal publications..
In addition to other resources mentioned above, the York University Data Librarian has provided links on the Library Data Services Web site. Ones of particular interest for industry research are:
Canadian Industry Statistics Provides industry indicators from the latest Statistics Canada data sources.
Current Industrial Reports (USA) Provides annual, quarterly and monthly industrial activities.
Statistical Abstract of the United States Provides statistics on industries and manufacturing in the United States (Current print edition in Reference Room HA 202 A3).
Statutes and Regulations of Canada and the provinces are available on the internet from CanLII – Canadian Legal Information Institute. Select Legislative materials by jurisdiction.
For an explanation of the regulatory environment for a given industry, consult the Canadian Encyclopedic Digest which is available in print at the Law Library or electronically at the public workstations in the libraries.
Professional and industry associations may impose regulations on members. Identify related associations using Associations Canada and check their publications and websites for rules and regulations governing members.