The sources I've found useful for finding information about the market for a particular industry or product include:
News Articles: You can get industry-specific news on Lexis (in the MARKET library), Factiva and Dialog. (On Dialog, I recommend File 9, which includes articles about companies, products and industries from the general and business press, and File 13, which includes articles about the internal management of individual companies or the management practices in an industry; alternatively, use "MarketFull" to search all files at once.) You might also want to check free Internet news sources on Yahoo! and/or see the entry for "News - Fast, Free, Current - Business". If you subscribe, search the Wall Street Journal.
Trade Journals: Trade journals are an awesome way to get information about a particular market - but it can be tricky to find out the titles of the key journals, and it can be hard to get a hold of them. For information on how to do these things, see "Trade Journals."
Polls: Public opinion polls relating to business, economics, politics, social issues, etc., are available in the iPoll database, available through the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research.
Reports: Market research reports range from free and basic to detailed and expensive. Some of the leading sources include:
- Forbes' "Annual Report on American Industry," which provides basic performance statistics on a dozen or so industries;
- Standard & Poor's Industry Surveys cover over 50 industries and are reputed to be excellent. They are available -- along with the U.S. government's Industrial Outlook on S&P's NetAdvantage.
- Mintel publishes detailed reports and sells them through their web site on a per-report or subscription basis.
- Hoover's sells analyst reports on specific industries; just search on the industry name and scroll to the bottom of the page.
- The Yahoo! Industry Center posts free overviews of about 100 industries.
- MarketResearch.com sells reports from many sources; I find it particularly easy to search. MarketResearch.com Profound lets you pull just sections of reports.
- Research and Markets also sells reports from many sources.
- OneSource also sells reports from many sources.
- Thomson sells its MarkIntel and Investext market research reports through the Thomson Research .
- Lexis has an extensive library of market research reports (MKTRES). You can find reports using the files ending "TOC," which are free to search. Or you can just search the full text files (searches cost only $7 in 1999).
- Dialog has several market research report databases, including the MKSE file, which is the online version of The Directory of Published Market Research Reports. Other relevant Dialog databases include Freedonia Market Research (File 763), EIU Market Research (File 768), BCC Market Research (File 764) Frost & Sullivan Market Intelligence (File 765), Frost & Sullivan Market Engineering (File 767) and Kalorama Market Research (File 766). You can search them all at once using the OneSearch category "MarketFul."
- The Alacra Store or Research and Markets, which sell reports from many different sources.
- Business Rankings Annual (Detroit: Gale Research) has all kinds of lists -- lists of the biggest companies, the best companies, etc.
If you need a market research report compiled that's more than you can handle in-house, you may want to hire a market research firm to do the job for you. See the "Vendors" section, below, for contact information.
Foreign Reports: Dialog has a number of databases providing market research reports. Datamonitor Market Research (File 761), Euromonitor Market Research (File 762) and the Euromonitor Market Research Journals (File 566) focus on Western Europe, but also cover the "U.S. and the World." EIU Market Research reports (File 768) cover Europe and Asia. Key Note Market Research Reports (File 563) cover Europe an the U.K. Some Freedonia Market Research reports (File 763) cover Canada (and the U.S.). Mintel covers the U.K. Alacra Store aggregates reports from many publishers.
Vendors: The GreenBook lists companies that do market research and run focus groups. I haven't used them, but I've gotten recommendations for Guideline (800-346-3787) and Just the Facts (847-506-0033).
For more specific information, search for individual industries by name.