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Before you start searching, it pays to spend a few minutes thinking about:
(a) what you are searching for; and
(b) who might publish that information.
Presuming that you aren't going to be able to find a completely perfect report on your topic (current data, relevant geographic area, exact product, comprehensive, etc.), you need to think about what the components of a perfect report might be so that you can look for them and build your own report.
- What do you need to know about the broad market for your type of product or for your industry?
- What would you like to know about the competitors and alternative products?
- Are the general business conditions likely to play a factor?
- Do you need to know anything about the demographics and preferences of consumers?
This guide is organised roughly by the types of sources that may answer these types of questions. Knowing exactly what your questions are before you start searching will help you choose relevant tools and sources and will save you time!
Common sources of marketing information include trade associations, government departments, private research firms, and academic researchers. Details about reports created by any of these organisations may appear in business news and trade publications.
Your search will be more efficient if you start by thinking about who is most likely to gather and publish the information you need. For example, governments are great at publishing data on business conditions. Academics, on the other hand, tend to research how/why topics such as consumer behaviour and motivations.
Articles in the business press are a great source of information about industry trends, new products, market projections, and other topics.
Academic Search Premier
Fulltext articles from a wide range of titles available online. Many of the journals covered are "popular" so be careful if you need to find "academic" sources. One way to limit your search to more academic sources is to check the box beside "peer-reviewed" on the Advanced search screen.
Business Source Complete
Fulltext for 1200 scholarly business journals, as well as thousands of trade magazines in all business areas. Also includes several thousand company, industry, and market reports.
An example of the sort of non-academic reports available in Business Source: Mobile Apps Industry Profile: North America.
Fulltext database of major Canadian newspapers such as the Vancouver Sun, the Calgary Herald, and the Montreal Gazette, as well as the newspapers of many smaller cities and towns such as the Burnaby Now.
Covers over 35,000 business and general news sources, including many industry magazines and the Wall Street Journal.
Fulltext database of news and legal publications. Includes many company directories as well as business/industry/general news sources from around the world.
Marketing has many psychology aspects (how do people think? how do they react?). PsycInfo covers many marketing journals in addition to hundreds of psychology sources that touch on marketing and consumer behaviour.
Connect to the list of article indexes for the Marketing Area for further suggestions.
From Citation to Article explains the many ways to find the actual article(s) after you have searched the databases.
Trade or industry associations can be excellent sources for statistics and other industry information such as company directories and regulatory briefs.
A few ways to find relevant associations:
- Try a simple Google search for your target industry plus a geographic region and the phrase "industry association" will almost always unearth key associations. Example: wine industry association Canada. If you don't find a local association, try for the national or international level.
- Browse the SFU Library's Associations research guide
- Scan articles on your topic in databases such as Business Source Complete and Canadian Newsstream and watch for any articles that mention associations, especially ones where the associations have released reports. Then search the web for the association site. For example, the article Stores rush to meet demand for organic and natural foods in Canadian Newsstream mentions the Certified Organic Associations of BC who have many statistics and reports at their site, including the full details on the report quoted in the news article.
Industry surveys and market reports may provide detailed information about your industry or market, but it can be very difficult to find a survey that perfectly matches your specific product, region, and industry. Remember that American and global surveys may be relevant to Canada as trends, products, and other developments are often very similar in many countries.
Start with the sample resources listed below, then check the Industry Surveys guide for more resources and search tips.
This database contains market reports offering strategic analysis of consumer lifestyles, service and retail markets, global industry overviews, and in-depth consumer markets, in addition to data on specific products, companies, and countries. Its main focus is on fast moving consumer goods (food, apparel, etc.).
Analysis of US, Canada, China and global industries providing insight into current and future industry performance, changing trends, operating conditions and supply chain linkages.
Business Source Complete
Select Industry Overview in the Document Type area of the search screen, then search for your industry.
Many are focused on industries, such as the Encyclopedia of Emerging Industries, the Encyclopedia of Global Industries, and the Encyclopedia of American Industries. Start your search by entering the name of your commodity, product, or sector, or even just the name of a major company in the industry.
Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada: Statistics by Industry
Canadian government resources. Also see their Industry Sector Intelligence.
Plunkett Research Online
A collection of online almanacs covering broad industries such as Games, Apps, and Social Media or Green Technology.
Market forecast reports focusing on (but not limited to) global emerging technology trends. Click on "Modify Search" and add your search terms to the existing search. (Coverage to Spring 2017 only.)
United States Census Bureau: Current Industrial Reports
Check out the US Census Bureau's Business & Industry page for additional data and reports.
Governments collect and publish a large amount of information on all aspects of Canadian life. Start with these sources, then check out longer SFU Library guides such as Statistics - BC, Statistics - Canada and the Government Sources for Business Research section of the main Business research guide.
Community Information Database
Socio-economic and demographic data for all communities across Canada. This database retrieves Statistics Canada data in a user-friendly way: simply click on the interactive map and obtain an instant community profile.
Business, Consumer, and Property Services
A great place to start for data on Canadian businesses and consumers
Statistics Canada Catalogue
Canada Agri-Food Trade Service – Market Information
Data, analysis, and resources on Canadians' food product consumption trends from Agriculture and Agri-food Canada. Won't list specific brands, but does provide other detailed information.
Canadian Electronic Library
Online copies of reports by many Canadian government agencies, as well as reports from think tanks and research institutes.
Finding good local information can be very challenging. If you want to find information/data specifically about Vancouver, you must be prepared to do some digging. You may discover that the very specific local information you are hoping to find is not available - you may have to adapt the information that's available to suit your purposes. A selection of local information sources:
- City of Vancouver (also see sites for other municipalities)
- Tourism Vancouver, especially their Marketing Research page
- Vancouver Economic Commission
- Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association
- Business Council of British Columbia
- BC Chamber of Commerce
- Economic Development Association of British Columbia
- Metro Vancouver
- BC Stats
- SFU's Office of Institutional Research and Planning
Examples of the type of local information one might find on these sites:
- Vancouver Open Data catalogue (access to city datasets; new datasets added regularly)
- VanMap (view data about Vancouver in map form)
- Traffic Counts (City of Vancouver)
- City of Vancouver Pedestrian Survey (links to main report, pedestrian count data, and opinion survey are at the bottom of right column)
- Vancouver Business and Investment Guide (from the VEC - you need to fill out a form to view it - also see their Our Focus page)
- Metro Vancouver - Average Income per Taxfiler by Municipality
- Undergraduate Headcount by Semester, Faculty, Year Level and Gender (SFU's Office of Institutional Research and Planning)
Be sure to search the Canadian news indexes:
- Search the Library Catalogue using terms such as "market" or "trade" or "industry" plus the name of your product. Searching by KEYWORD is generally the best way to start. SUBJECT searching is more precise but you may miss useful titles. Example: a keyword search for bookselling will get you results with such subjects as Book industries and trade & Booksellers and bookselling.
Search the web to find discussions or studies about your industry or product. It often helps to include the names of at least a couple of the key companies in the industry/market as part of your search.
- Most market research reports will not be found in libraries or free on the web due to cost and copyright issues. Some market research companies will publish brief reports on the web available to nonsubscribers. Check out Nielsen Canada for an example of such commercial information on the web. Fortunately, many research firm offer some free content in their blogs, newsletters, etc. Again, see Nielsen Canada's Reports & Downloads (need to register (free) to download) & Top Tens & Trends. See also this blog post for more links to the social media of private research firms.
Directories provide information such as company or organization addresses and phone numbers, and may also provide executive's names, products, trade names, and so on. Traditionally, directories were available only in print but most useful titles are now accessible through databases and on the web. Some web directories require you to register and pay a fee before you can use them, or will only let you access some of their contents for free.
Below is a sample list of a few key directories for Canadian company and organization information. Check out the brief guide to Canadian business directories for more.
Vancouver and British Columbia
- Yellow Pages
- BC211 (Red Book Online - for community, government and social services in BC)
- The Business in Vancouver Book of Lists [print]: Updated lists appear weekly in Business in Vancouver
- Canadian Trade Index
- Hoover's Online: free (brief) company capsules + online via LexisNexis
- Check out the brief guide to Canadian business directories for more Canadian suggestions.
Specialised (examples only)
- Plunkett's biotech & genetics industry almanac 2018
- Canadian Oilfield Directory
- ThomasNet (formerly Thomas Register of American Manufacturers) (includes Canadian companies)
Financial and brief descriptive information for thousands of major public companies in the world, and millions of private companies. Choose the option to Search original documents.
The system used since 1997 to electronically file information with the Canadian securities regulatory authorities. Includes annual reports, interim financial statements, press releases and prospectuses.
- For more annual report resources and information about how to read annual reports and other financial statements, try the resources listed in our guides: Annual Reports and Ratio Analysis.
- Passport : Includes market share information for thousands of consumer goods companies and brands in many countries.
- Statista : Statistics portal. Covers many market share topics. Add your product or company to this initial search.
- Frost & Sullivan: Many of the Industry Research Analysis reports includes market share estimates for emerging technolgies and services.
- Market Share Reporter : Find market share data extracted from a wide range of sites and publications.
- Also search Business Source Complete, Canadian Newsstream, Factiva, and/or LexisNexis (try the Industry News Publications section) for articles in the business press which sometimes touch on market shares.
- BC Business Top 100 (in print magazine in all SFU Library branches). Also online.
- The Business in Vancouver Book of Lists (available in all SFU Library branches: print)
- Canadian Business: Investor 500 and Growth 500
- National Post Business. Business 500. (Bennett Library, print).
- Globe & Mail Report on Business 1000 (Bennett Reserves & Belzberg print)
See Company Information for further sources.
- Statistics Canada
- Bank of Canada Review
- British Columbia Financial and Economic Review
- Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada
- Statistics Canada
This database contains data on consumer trends in many countries, including drinking and eating habits, spending patterns, and crime and culture indicators; as well as market size data on hundreds of consumer products.
Frost & Sullivan
Market research covering emerging technologies and services.
Best customers: demographics of consumer demand & Household spending: Who spends how much on what
Two ebooks with data on the demographics of consumers in the United States. Data is taken from the Consumer Expenditure Survey of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Encyclopedia of Major Marketing Strategies & Encyclopedia of Major Marketing Campaigns
Two ebooks covering the background, tactics, and outcomes from dozens of real marketing campaigns over the last decade. Search here to cover both titles at once. If you are looking for details on an older campaign, check the first volume in the same series, only available in print at the Bennett Library.
Business Plans and Profiles Index
Carnegie Library of Pittsburg's list of (mostly) freely available Business Plans, from plans for accounting consulting firms to wineries. Business plans can be a great source for gathering cost information.
See also these 40 volumes of the Business Plans Handbook -- all online and searchable for SFU researchers.