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 ProQuest Dialog. 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 .
- 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: 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. Although I haven't used them myself, I received good recommendations for OCR International (back when they were still Guideline (800-346-3787)) and Just the Facts (847-506-0033).
For more specific information, search for individual industries by name.