What is an Industry Analysis?
An industry analysis is a marketing process that provides statistics about the market potential of your business products and services. This section of your plan needs to have specific information about the current state of the industry, and its target markets. An industry analysis may contain reference materials such as spreadsheets, pie charts, and bar graphs in order to represent the data.
Identify your industry and provide a brief overview.
You may need to explore your industry from a variety of geographical considerations: locally, regionally, provincially, nationally, globally, etc. Be sure to define relevant industry codes. Provide statistics and historical data about the nature of the industry and growth potential for your business, based on economic factors and conditions.
Summarize the nature of the industry.
Include specific information and statistics about growth patterns, fluctuations related to the economy, and income projections made about the industry. Be sure to document recent developments, news, and innovations. Also, discuss the marketing strategies, and the operational and management trends that are prevalent within the industry.
Provide a forecast for your industry.
Compile economic data and industry predictions at different time intervals (5, 10, 20 years). Be sure to cite all of your sources. Note: the type and size of the industry will determine how much information you will be able to find about a particular industry. For example, it is much more difficult to locate published information about specialized niche or emerging industries. Define if this is a new and emerging, growing, maturing or declining.
Identify government regulations that affect the industry.
Include any recent laws pertaining to your industry, and any licenses or authorizations you would need to conduct business in your target market. This section may include information about fees and costs involved.
Explain your unique position within the industry.
Once you have completed your Competitive Analysis (in the next section) you can list the leading companies in the industry, and compile an overview of data of your direct and indirect competition. This will help you communicate your unique value proposition.
List potential limitations and risks.
Write about factors that might negatively impact your business and what you foresee in the short-term and long-term future. Outline what you know about the driving forces: new regulations, technology, globalization, competitors, changing customer needs.
Talk to people!
Go to tradeshows, do cold calls, talk to people in relevant associations and go to business events.
Before you access the resources and databases below, consider what key words you can use as search terms to find information about your industry. You can also search many databases using the NAICS code for your industry. You can keyword search for your industry NAICS code here:
»Search or browse all NAICS or SIC codes on the NAICS Association website. Some NAICS codes are different in Canada, you can search by keyword or browse Canadian NAICS codes at Statistics Canada or Canadian Industry Statistics. To search for a SIC code using a NAICS code and vice-versa use the NAICS & SIC Crosswalks.
For more information about planning your industry research and industry codes, check out the video tutorial for Module 3: Planning Your Industry Research.
Library Business Research Resources:
Business Resources at Academic Libraries
Colleges and Universities with business programs will have useful business collections you may be able to get access to through their academic library. Often these academic libraries can provide the general public with access to their collections, which include electronic resources like databases and e-books. For example, they could have alumni or community cards, and can provide temporary "guest" passes in certain situations. Contact your local college or university library to see what they can provide. Please note: you probably will not get access to their electronic resources with remote access.
UBC Library Business Databases
How to access: If you are a UBC student, staff, faculty or in-person library visitor you may have access to business databases through the David Lam Management Research Library and Canaccord Learning Commons through the links below.
There are two different ways to identify databases, use 'by title' if you already know the name. Otherwise, you can use the list 'by subject' to find starting places for doing market research, finding articles or researching companies. To learn more about how you can access library resources if you are a community user or temporary visitor check out the UBC Library Community Users & Visitors Guide. Community users and temporary visitors may have additional access restrictions to specific databases because of license agreements.
Discovering where you can access the information you need to complete your research can be tricky. Below, we have a few examples of potential sources that collect the type of information you will need.
Ibis World Industry Reports
Business Source Complete
Canadian Business and Current Affairs
Trade Publications, Journals, and Magazines:
Industry and trade associations work to keep people within an industry informed about the industry through newsletters, magazines, and trade fairs. The information can range from a detailed focus on a specific product line, to general coverage of an industry or key business risk and trends. Industry and professional association websites can be excellent sources of free information whether or not you are a member of that organization. In addition, you can find news about industries via government websites, news databases, as well as news directories and search engines.
Provides publisher information on more than 300,000 periodicals of all types. use this to create a list of relevant ones to check out in your industry. Search by keyword, publisher or geographic location.
Trade associations often publish free industry newsletters that are excellent sources of information for your business plan. Such newsletters often have articles that cover in-depth topics on business management, manufacturing practices, how-tos, current industry news and much more. One good reason to create a list of relevant associations is to see if any of them publish a monthly industry newsletter on their website.
ASAE Gateway to Associations Directory
Use this directory to search for an association by name, interest area, or international geographic location (including Canada and BC). You can also search using a combination of various fields.
This library database covers Canadian, as well as some international, industry, professional or special interest associations. Searchable by type or keyword. You can use this to identify key associations' websites and search for freely available newsletters, blogs or reports they they may publish on your industry. Please contact your local public or research library for access. Use of your library card may be required for online access to this resource. Print copies may also be available for in-person users.
Web searching tip: Use Google or another search engine to search for industry associations relevant to your industry in your location. If you don't find a relevant industry association, try broadening your geographic area (e.g. from Vancouver to British Columbia, or from Canada to the U.S. or international). If your industry is very specialized or new, look for associations for broader or similar industries.
Government Websites, Including Labour Market Information Sources:
BC Stats | Current reports and statistics from British Columbia's central statistical agency including labour market information, economic statistics and bankruptcies. Start by searching their Industry section and narrowing by industry type or go to the Business, Industry & Trade page to skim all the different business-related topics.
Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada
Provides market research, industry statistics, licensing information for intellectual property, and information about doing business internationally. The Industry Canada site features interactive applications such as customizable trade reports, cost calculators, and online business planning guides. You can also search broad Canadian industry statistics.
Entrepreneurship Indicators Database
This database is intended to provide comprehensive business demography statistics and performance indicators for enterprises in Canada. This information is available upon request.