Skip to Main Content

How to Research Your Industry: Home

What your industry means for your business

Types of Industry Research

Primary Research

  • Talking to business owners or other industry professionals
  • Questionnaires or online surveys
  • Observing other businesses and their customers
  • Competitors’ websites and social media
  • Attending Trade Shows and other Industry events
  • Work or volunteer experience in the industry

Secondary Research Resources

  • Government Data: e.g. U.S. Census
  • Library Databases
  • Articles
  • Industry Associations and Industry Reports
What is an Industry?

The term industry is used frequently in business. To understand what this term means when starting a business is to understand an industry as a broad grouping of businesses that operate in roughly the same product or service category as your business. For example, fast food restaurants, bars, full service restaurants, food trucks, and hotels that serve food are all "sectors" of the same overall restaurant industry. These businesses are slightly different, but they are competing with one another for a customer's money spent on food.

The picture below is a snapshot of the projection of the Secondhand Retail Market in the next 5 years.

2021 Resale Report, ThredUp!

What will researching my industry do for my business?

  1. Understanding your industry can help you identify the trends that affect your industry sector or your industry as a whole. This will allow you to adjust your business strategy to account for changes in regulation, technology, or consumer preferences.

  2. Once you identify your industry and your industry sector, you will be able to look at financial benchmarks based on the other companies in your industry or industry sector. This can help you determine whether your expenditures, profit, and your balance sheet or on par with your competitors. 
  3. Knowing your industry can help you network with other professionals in your industry and find all of the suppliers and service providers that your business may need by joining your industry associations or going to relevant trade shows.

Virtual Reference

Need help from Brooklyn Public Library's Business & Career Center?

  • Email with a Librarian for answers to your small business, career help & personal finance questions
  • Request a 1-on-1 Book a Librarian appointment for personalized research support and tutoring sessions on using our print and online resources
  • Visit the Business & Career Center on the 2nd floor of the Central Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 11238
  • Call the Business & Career Center at 718-968-7275 during the hours Central Library is open.