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Industry Research
What is industry research as opposed to company research? Rather than focusing on a specific company, industry research involves searching under a specific line of business or industry code. Industry codes are used by government agencies to classify companies under broad industry sectors for comparison purposes. For job seekers however, searching under industry sector can mean finding companies in a similar industry to their old company for job leads, analyzing what type of industry is growing or diminishing for positive career change, or discovering the trends in a specific industry sector for an information interview.
For market researchers it can mean estimating a demand for a new product, analyzing the existing competition for market share, identifying new markets for existing products or gathering sales leads under line of business. Check out the market research pages for more information.
Using business directories, electronic databases and the internet, you can research the types of associations that support your industry, ascertain whether there are any trade shows within the industry and which trade magazines specialize in your industry, giving a framework for industry research for networking, information interviews or competitive intelligence.
Business Directories
Most of the following business directories are housed on the third floor reference area at Central Branch. These directories can be searched by line of business using industry codes such as the SIC or NAIC codes. There is usually an index to these codes listed within each directory. When you are unsure of where to begin, try perusing Gale’s Encyclopedia of Business Information Sources by industry name which will list available specialized databases, newsletters, directories and associations for that industry.
  • Scotts Directories: Ontario Business Directory, 3 volumes
  • Scotts Directories: Ontario Manufacturers Directory
  • Dun & Bradstreet's Regional Directory, 4 volumes
  • Ontario Business-to-Business Sales & Marketing Directory, 3 volumes
Special Industry Directories
The Library has many business directories specializing in a specific industry. Many of these directories are published by associations or as annual buying guides from a specific trade journal. Most of these directories are housed in the business reference section. Examples would be:
  • Guide to the Financial Services Industry
  • Retails Chains in Canada
  • Cosmetics Canada
  • Toronto Construction Association Buyers Guide
Trade Shows
  • Associations Canada
  • Search associations by name, geography or subject keyword.
  • Directory of Canadian Associations
  • Search for associations by name, industry sector or acronym.
  • Europa Yearbook
  • Index to international organizations and associations.
  • 1000 Plus Trade and Professional Associations in the Toronto Region
  • Industry related associations in the GTA.
  • Weddles Association Directory
  • Lists thousands of associations around the world by industry sector.
Trade Journals & Magazines
Many industry sectors have trade journals representing their industry. Many of these trade journals have annual buying guides that list the key players in that industry. Trade journals provide you with an up-to-date and in-depth analysis of your industry and the trends taking place in that industry. They will show you which way the industry is heading. You can research the types of trade journals associated with your industry by looking in Canadian Advertising Rates and Data under business publications or by using a search engine and searching keyword of your industry and trade journals or publications.
Electronic Databases
Many trade journals are indexed and in full text format in databases. The library subscribes to some of these databases and you have access 24/7 with your library card. The Canadian Business and Current Affairs database (CBCA) is a good start. The Mergents database has 20 regularly updated industry reports with some Canadian content. Check out electronic the list databases for business
Industry Rankings
Many Canadian business newspapers or magazines publish special annual issues that rank companies by industry sector. The current year’s rankings may be available for free on the magazine’s website but not previous years rankings. The Central Library keeps a print run of 5-10 years to facilitate quick comparison.
  • The Globe & Mail: ROB 1000
  • Canada’s top 1,000 companies by profit and 100 biggest private companies
  • National Post: FP 500
  • Canada’s 500 largest corporations
  • Canadian Business: Investor 500
  • Canada’s top performing companies
  • Profit: Profit 100
  • Canada’s fastest growing companies
Industry Ratios
  • Financial Performance Indicators for Canadian Business, CD-ROM
  • Key financial ratios allow users to compare their firm's performance with that of their industry. Data is derived from Statistics Canada's database of financial statements and has comparison ratios for small, medium, and large incorporated firms. Accessed through the Adult CD-ROM workstation on the third floor of the Central Library.
Recommended Web Sitess
  • Statistics Canada (www.statcan.ca)
  • Industry profiles and statistics on selected Canadian industries.
  • Industry Canada (www.strategis.gc.)
  • Includes industry profiles and access to Canada Company Capabilities database.
  • Hoover's (www.hoovers.com)
  • Partial North American industry profiles. Full profiles available by subscription.
  • Toronto Public Library: Virtual Reference Library (www.virtualreferencelibrary.ca)
  • Great links to industry sectors. Scroll down the subject directory to "business, finance and economics" then click on “industry.”
*Information provided by the Business Services Web page does not constitute a recommendation or endorsement by the Richmond Hill Public Library. Please read the Library's Disclaimer and Copyright Notice regarding linked sites. If you notice a broken link or wish to suggest a useful Web site, please contact the Business Librarian at 905.884.9288 x304 or e-mail jgirot@rhpl.ca.