An essential part of marketing research is an analysis of the industry in which your business operates. Research can help determine what the market size for your product or service is, what the market share of you competitors is, if your industry shrinking or expanding, what trends are affecting your industry and what types of research have been done on your industry.
Finding out who your competitors are is an important part of your marketing research. You can analyze their strengths and weaknesses, review financials as a benchmark, look at how they are pricing their product/service, create a marketing plan, and more.
In general, It will be easier to find information on public companies as opposed to private companies. Public companies are required to disclose their financial information such as filings and annual reports. Private companies are not required to disclose their financials but you can look for industry averages. For private companies you can search for articles published about the company using the following databases.
The following sources give an overview of industries and their trends. They also identify the top companies in the field based on sales figures.
One source often overlooked by those seeking information on a specific industry is the trade associations associated with that industry. They can provide information such as market statistics, members, books and reference material,. They may have done industry research on their own.