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Public Company Research: Competitors

how to research various types of information about a public company

Researching the Competition

When you are trying to find information about your company's competition, you are in essence conducting Industry Research.

Competition = Industry Research

An industry is a grouping of all the companies involved in the manufacturing or selling of similar products or services.

See the boxes below for databases to use for industry research.   I recommend you start with IBISWorld or S&P NetAdvantage.


Industry Analyst Reports

Industry Statistics & Trends

How to Define your Industry

Defining your industry in basic terms means deciding who your competition is. There are several ways to go about this:

1.  The US government defines industries by NAICS codes (they used to do this with SIC codes).  Go to  and type your (one word, if possible) industry description in the search box on the left side of the page.

2.  Reverse Engineer.  If you know a company that belongs in your industry, use the Hoover's Online database and search for your company.  Once on the company page, scroll down the middle of the page until you find the "Industry Information" box.  Note the NAICS code(s) for your company.

3.  Ask me. I help students with this portion of their research all the time, especially for difficult to define industries.