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Industry Research Guide

Whether you’re researching your competition, preparing for an interview, or looking for new clients, the CCPL Business Center has the key sources of company information you need. If you have any questions, email askaquestion@ccpl.org, call 805-6930 or stop by the Reference Desk.

Industry Research @ CCPL
Whether you’re researching your firm’s industry, preparing your business plan, or examining economic trends, the CCPL Business Center has the key sources of industry research you need.  If you have any questions, email askaquestion@ccpl.org, call 805-6930, or stop by the Reference Desk.

Know Your Code!
Before you begin, take time to find the SIC and NAICS codes for your industry.  These two code systems were developed by the US Government to group similar businesses together into industries that they can study.  Reference resource publishers have borrowed these codes for their own use, so you’ll use them when conducting industry research.  You can search both the
SIC Code Manualand the NAICS Code Manual online.

Online Business Library Resources
Our Online Business Library is your one-stop shop for business research.  Access these premium industry research resources 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for free with your CCPL library card!

Reference USA (in library | home access) – Use Custom Search to compare companies with the same Yellow Page Heading, Primary SIC or NAICS codes to learn more about that industry in any US geographic area.  Records include names of owners/managers, employee counts, estimated business expenditures in several categories, and other hard-to-find details.

Business and Company Resource Center (in library | home access) – BCRC includes industry reports for each NAICS code.  Select the Industry research button and enter your code to search, or drill down using the Browse option.  Reports vary in length but usually include an industry history, current conditions and the general outlook for the industry.

Small Business Resource Center (in library | home access) – SBRC makes it easy to locate industry information for small business uses.  Click the gray Business Types button to see the most frequently searched lines of business in the database, or use the Search box to find articles, overviews, and directory information (including lists of trade associations) for most industries.


Periodical articles can be a great source of information on your industry.

General BusinessFile ASAP (in library | home access) – Use the Keyword search to locate articles on your industry and the companies within it.  For example, type “shoe industry,” then click Search.  Articles date from 1980 to the present, with new items added daily.

Business and Company Resource Center (in library | home access) – Choose Article search to find industry-related articles in hundreds of trade journals, newspapers, and other periodicals.

For local industry information, try the Charleston Regional Business Journal (website), and for larger national or international industry coverage, check the Wall Street Journal (website) or the North American edition of the Financial Times (website).



All of these titles are held at the Business Center in the Main Library.  Click the title to check for availability at our branch libraries.

Encyclopedia of American Industries – Contains detailed reports on every industry by SIC code.  Entires include industry organization and structure, background, current conditions and more.

Encyclopedia of Global Industries – Includes descriptions of over 125 industry sectors that are important globally, such as aircraft, biotech, computer services and telecommunications.

Almanac of Business & Industrial Financial Ratios – Provides financial ratios for companies in various asset ranges by SIC and NAICS code.  Data is gathered from IRS returns.

Industry Norms & Key Business Ratios – Valuable tool for comparing your company’s performance against industry averages.  Gathers information from business credit reports and financial statements of over 1 million companies in 800 industries.

Industry Research Using the Economic Census – An in-depth reference guide that explains how to use the U.S. Economic Census data to conduct industry research.

RMA Annual Statement Studies – Contains financial norms for over 375 industries gathered from financial bank statements.

Plunkett’s Retail Industry Almanac – In-depth overview of the retail sector, including statistics, industry information resources, and profiles of the top retail businesses in the US.