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:
- Lexis has market research reports from a number of vendurs including MarketLine, World Market Intelligence, BMI, IHS Gobal Insights, and Intellines, among others.
- Profound is a pure market research database, with nearly a million reports by around 200 publishers (subscription). Profound allows you to pull just sections of reports, sometimes even just a single graph or chart.
- 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 (subscription).
- 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 without a subscription; I find it particularly easy to search.
- Research and Markets also sells reports from many sources.
- Thomson sells its MarkIntel and Investext market research reports through the Thomson Research on Demand (pay as you go).
- 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. Reportlinker has reports covering many foreign markets. If these sources don't have what you need, check the sources mentioned in the main section, above.
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.