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Business: Market Research Info

A guide for students seeking Business resources in Kettering Library.

What is Market Research?

What is Market Research?

Market research involves gathering data and statistics on the many aspects that affect (or have the potential to affect) a new or existing business.

This typically includes defining: Who will your customers be?  How will you recruit and retain them?  How does your business and your potential product or service fit into the local market and the industry at large?  Who is your competition? What makes your business, product, or service unique?  

Market research is an essential part to any business plan, and the soundness of your market research is something your potential investors will look at as they consider funding your business venture.

Three Areas of Market Research

Market research can usually be divided into three areas:

  1. Understanding your target market (aka potential customers)
  2. Analyzing the current state of the market or industry you are in or wish to enter.  This includes identifying where your potential products or services would fit in with the local market.
  3. Viewing the competitive landscape of the industry you will be entering, including local competition.

NAICS + SIC Systems

NAICS and SIC ... 

The North American Industry Classification System or NAICS has largely replaced the older Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system; however, certain government departments and agencies, such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), still use the SIC codes.

Various classification systems and other frameworks have been developed over time to structure our understanding of business and industry.  Not unlike the numbering systems that libraries use to organize their resources, business and industry classification systems help us to organize our knowledge about all the elements that comprise the landscape of commerce.    

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) and the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes are numerical codes assigned by the U.S. government to business establishments to identify the primary business of the establishment.

The classification systems were developed to facilitate the collection, presentation, and analysis of data; and to promote uniformity and comparability in the presentation of statistical data collected by various agencies of the federal government, state agencies, and private organizations.  SIC codes are four digit numbers and were used by the federal government until 1997; some private publishers still use them. NAICS codes are six digits long and have been used by federal agencies starting in 1997.

The Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) and North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) are numerical classification systems created by the United States government.  These systems are used to group/classify like companies into industries for the purposes of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy. The SIC system was originally developed in the 1930s and was last updated in 1987.  The NAICS system was first released in 2002, updated in 2007 and last updated in 2012. 

While NAICS has "officially" replaced SIC, many business directories and databases still use one or both of the systems.  Therefore, it is important to know about both SIC and NAICS.

  • The Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) consists of four digit numbers that apply to a company based on the type of products or services it produces.
    • An example of an SIC Code is:  5812 = Eating Places
  • The newer North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) employs six digits to allow for a more detailed system of industry classification. 
    • An example of a NAICS Code is: 722110 = Full Service Restaurants

Some library databases, books, and web sites allow you to search using SIC and/or NAICS codes. It is very helpful to know what your industry code is before starting your research in Library and government resources. 

Web Links




ProQuest Central is the largest single periodical resource available, bringing together complete databases across all major subject areas, including a Business Market Research Collection (COMING SOON).

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