Industry research will help you find statistics and information for companies that produce similar products and services. Use this data to explore an industry's potential for growth and more.


Why Research an Industry?

Industry research will help you find statistics and information for companies that produce similar products and services. This data will give you an overview of various industries including size of the industry, history of the industry, products and services, and an outlook for years ahead.



Before starting any industry research it is important to first find your industry's SIC and NAICS code.

A SIC (Standard Industrial Classification Code) is a code assigned by the United States government to various sectors of industry. Many online and print sources group statistics and data by these codes. NAICS (North American Industrial Classification System) is a new coding system that has recently replaced SIC codes. Although very similar to SIC codes, it has expanded to include more technological and service industries. Both coding systems are commonly used so it is advisable to look up both codes of your industry. To look up your SIC or NAICS code you can use print sources or internet sites. The NAICS manual and internet site will also allow you to convert your code from SIC to NAICS.


Sources for the Codes

You will find the following print sources in the Science, Business & News Division at the Main Library and at some larger branch locations:

Standard Industrial Classification Manual
North American Industrial Classification System

Or, access the information you need online at the following sites:

U.S. Department of Labor: SIC System Search
U.S. Census: North American Industry Classification System


Local Industry

It is often very useful to explore an industry within a particular geographic context. These print and online sources will help you do just that:

County Business Patterns…Ohio

  • Most current edition of this publication can be found online at the U.S. Census Bureau
  • Selected statistics for specific industry sectors for state, county, zip code, and Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) geographic areas
  • Published by the U.S. Department of Commerce

D&B Regional Business Directory, Central Ohio Available in print at Main Library, Science, Business & News (SBN)

  • Brief profiles and contact information for business enterprises in the Central Ohio area
  • Lists companies by geography and SIC
  • Provides names of top company officers, fax numbers, and website addresses
  • Useful for business-to-business contacts, and for job seekers

Harris Ohio Industrial Directory Available at Main Library and some branch locations

  • Profiles of thousands of Ohio manufacturing firms
  • Lists companies alphabetically, geographically, by SIC Code and product type

Harris Ohio Services Directory Available at Main Library

  • Profiles of thousands of Ohio service firms
  • Lists companies alphabetically, geographically, by SIC code and type of service

Ohio Manufacturers Directory Available at Main Library and some branch locations

  • Profiles of thousands of Ohio service firms
  • Lists companies alphabetically, geographically, by SIC code and type of service
  • Useful for business-to-business contacts, and for job seekers

Columbus Chamber of Commerce 

  • The Columbus Chamber is your one-stop for information. Get started with our new, interactive Business Resource tool, which provides hundreds of business-critical resources from governmental entities and nonprofits.
  • Complete listing of Chamber members available here 

  • Access to economic development information about the Central Ohio region.
  • Use Columbus Region Insite to gather site selection information, and to generate reports on your competitors and B2B customers


General Industry Information

There are many excellent sources of general industry information, available in the Science, Business & News Division of the Main Library. The books listed below are reference materials, and cannot be checked out. Consult the following:

Standard and Poor's Industry Surveys

  • In depth profiles of 52 major U.S. industries, updated quarterly
  • Includes industry trends, key financial ratios and comparative analyses of leading companies

LexisNexis Corporate Affiliations

  • Eight volume set includes US Private, US Public, International companies, and master index of company and brand names, SIC/NAICS codes, and country
  • Former title "Who Owns Whom, the Family Tree of Every Major Corporation" describes this print directory which helps you find parent companies, their subsidiaries and operating divisions

Ward's Business Directory of U.S. Private and Public Companies

  • Eight volume set includes company profiles listed alphabetically, US companies ranked by sales within NAICS code, and companies ranked by sales within SIC code by state
  • Each state listing includes top public and top private companies ranked by sales

Manufacturing & Distribution USA

  • Presents statistics on numerous NAICS classifications in the manufacturing, wholesaling and retail industries, and lists of leading companies within each industry.
  • Search for the Title Manufacturing & Distribution USA on the catalog for location of print edition, and to access the Downloadable, or eBook edition.
  • Your library card number and PIN are required to view, print, or download content from the eBook edition


Researching an Industry Online

You can access the research databases listed below from by selecting Business & Finance from the "Choose a category" menu in the "Get Tools" box.

Columbus Dispatch-Electronic Edition (card required for home access)

  • Full-text index of staff-written Dispatch articles dating back to July 1985
  • Search for articles on local companies and industries

Business Source Premier (card required for home access)

  • Provides company profiles, SWOT analysis, full-text trade journal articles, and industry analysis
  • Create a free "My EBSCOhost" account in order to receive email search alerts for a specific topic

Reference USA (card required for home access)

  • Comprehensive directory of business enterprises in the United States
  • Search by company name, geography, and yellow page heading or SIC/NAICS code, or combine searches

Associations Unlimited

  • Online directory of industry specific organizations

Business Insights: Essentials

  • Company profiles, brand information, rankings, investment reports, company histories, chronologies and full text trade journals
  • Search by company name, industry code, geographic region or personal name

Business First Columbus

  • Index of a sampling of Business First articles from 1996 to the present
  • Excellent resource for obtaining information on local industries and the Columbus business climate


Specific Industry Directories in Main Library, Science, Business & News

  • American Wholesalers and Distributors Directory published by Gale, Cengage Learning
  • Food & Beverage Marketplace published by Grey House Publishing, Inc.
  • Directory of Discount Stores & Specialty Retailers published by Chain Store Guide
  • Bacon's Radio Directory and Bacon's TV/Cable Directory published by Cision
  • Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide: Profiles and Statistics of America's Largest Retail Web Sites Ranked by Annual Sales published by Vertical Web Media, LLC


International Trade and Global Markets

The Columbus Region: Economic Reports
Use the general, quarterly and global reports in your strategic planning process. The Global Report is a research project designed to inventory and describe the extent to which the Columbus Region is a "global" community. The report provides statistics and information on global assets and resources that can be used for economic development and site selection/talent attraction and retention. Country profiles include lists of local business owned by parent companies in foreign countries. brings together resources from across the U.S. Government to assist American businesses in planning their international sales strategies and succeed in today's global marketplace. From market research and trade leads from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Commercial Service to export finance information from Export-Import Bank and the Small Business Administration to agricultural export assistance from USDA, helps American exporters navigate the international sales process and avoid pitfalls such as non-payment and intellectual property misappropriation.

Full Text E-Journal List (card required for home access)
Use this research database as a shortcut to find comprehensive reports published by The Economist Intelligence Unit, IHS Global Insight, CountryWatch Incorporated and Business Monitor International on trading conditions in foreign countries. Use the name of the country as your search term in the search box next to the word "Browsing".

Created by the International Business Center at Michigan State University (IBC), globalEDGE is a knowledge web-portal that connects international business professionals worldwide to a wealth of information, insights, and learning resources on global business activities.

Ohio Development Services Agency, GlobalOhio Export Assistance
The Development Services Agency's Export Assistance Section is creating opportunities wordwide through its comprehensive and customized export services. The network of international offices promote the export of Ohio goods and services by providing small and medium-sized enterprises with qualified prospective agent and distributor reports, invaluable first-hand market research and in-country market assistance.

NTDB Global Trade Directory
Search the NTDB Global Trade Directory for companies, products, and services for thousands of companies around the world. You can limit your search to a region or country, and a product or service keyword. You can also browse the Trade Directory by categories like agriculture and forestry, or textiles and leather.

Ohio Small Business Development Center at Columbus State
Check the Ohio SBDC event calendar for the "ITAC: International Trade 101" series of 3 free classes for entrepreneurs. The series will help you understand the basics for exporting. The Ohio SBDC instructors will describe the key requirements for export compliance to provide attendees with a clear understanding of how the export process works, and how to find customers outside the United States.

Questions? Call our information Line at 614-645-2ASK and ask to speak with a librarian in Science, Business & News at Main Library.


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