Industry Information: Industry profiles

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Why use these?

Use industry profiles when:

  • You're not already familiar with the industry and need background information
  • You need expert information on current conditions in the industry

They will help you understand an industry's:

  • current conditions and history 
  • organization (vertical or not)
  • opportunities and threats, and more

They will usually name the leading companies in the industry.  Some focus more on background info, others more on current conditions. 

Below are two classic sources, unfortunately, only available in print. 

About finding industry profiles

The databases below offer industry profiles that are regularly updated, some quarterly, some annually, etc.  There are more industry profiles in two of our article databases, ABI-Inform Trade & Industry and Business Source Premier

Investext is another good source for industry information, but it is more difficult to use.  I've put Investext into its own box below, with more instructions for getting to the industry-wide reports. Please be aware that while you can often find really useful reports in Investext, it can take some time to find them.

Databases for Industry Profiles

Below are links to industry reports from individual publishers, and to databases that contain industry reports. Many of these reports are available in general business databases:  where possible, the links go directly to that content, not to a general search screen.  But where such direct linking is not possible, the links go to the main database search screen (e.g. Passport).

Two notes about MarketLine (formerly Datamonitor) reports:

  1. Datamonitor reports were recently re-branded as MarketLine Industry Profile reports, followed by either the tag "a Datamonitor Company", or the tag "an Informa Company". You'll see all three brand names.
  2. MarketLine reports are available in two different databases, Ebsco's Business Source Premier, and Thomson One's Investext. Each has advantages and disadvantages. 
    • For slightly easier searching, use Business Source Premier
    • For the most complete collection of MarketLine content, use Thomson One; Ebsco does not always receive the current reports in a timely way.

Links to reports from individual publishers or vendors:

These reports are pulled from large aggregator databases (ABI-Inform Trade & Industry, Business Source Premier, and Business Insights Essentials). The interfaces of these large databases allow me to create these individual links, which is not possible in other interfaces.

Links to databases:

About market share

Many of the industry profiles will also contain market share information.  Once you get into a report, use your browser's find-in-page feature to search for the phrase 'market share'.  However, there are also several sources that pull out the market share data, and you can find them listed on the page linked below.

About Investext

Investext was once a separate database all on its own, but it was bought up by Thomson Reuters some years ago.  At Marquette, it is available through the interface, where it is unhelpfully called 'Research'!  Below are instructions on how to get to the advanced search screen where you can specify industry reports.

First, what is Investext?  It's a collection of research reports written by investment analysts from many different research companies.  Some of the 'big names' are:  Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, William Blair, AE Edwards, CitiBank, Credit Suisse, and many more. Here are a couple of things to know about the content:

  • Reports are embargoed by 2-3 weeks (i.e. we get delayed access)
  • Over 1,400 providers of in-depth research reports on companies and industries worldwide
  • An industry report is defined as a report which discusses at least three companies.  Although many of the industry reports offer very valuable content, this oddball definition means that some industry reports are less useful.

The Advanced Search for Investext (Research) reports:


Screenshot of Thomson One search menubar

Getting to it (see screen-shot above; please note that sometimes the menu displayed in the screen-shot above can be on the left-margin instead -- this is a function of which version of Internet Explorer you have):

  1. In the menu across the top, hover over the blue Screening & Analysis button (to the right of Company Views, the tab open by default)
  2. Once the Screening & Analysis menu drops down, hover over Research, then click on Research Search.

Things to do / check (see screen-shot below):

  1. In the top Search Options menu, consider using a longer time period to search in (the default is 90 days).  This will be especially helpful for industries that are less newsworthy or 'sexy'
  2. In the More Options menu, for Report Type, uncheck 'company'.
  3. In the More Options menu, you can also: 
  • Use the drop-down menu to search in the report's table of contents, or in the full-text (instead of searching only in the report title); or ...
  • Use NAICS or SIC codes to specify your industry (not always necessary; I often find that a combination of keyword and industry code searching works best -- it just depends on the industry!)
  • Specify a geographic focus for the reports:  for some industries, this is especially helpful.  I recommend using the look-up feature, as the country/region names are sometimes not what you might expect
  • Specify that you only want reports longer than x number of pages -- a very useful feature for avoiding the quarterly financial blurb reports which tend to be the shorter ones, 5-6 pages in length.

Screenshot of Advanced Search screen for Investext/Research