Aug 13, 2012

online research: industry

Following my previous post on online research - where to search for country information, today I'm writing about how to search for industry data.

This is a summary of what, how and where to search for when you want to gather data on an industry from another country.

Valuable, quality data is not difficult to find online, even for free, when you know where to look.  

I'll work on an example: let's assume we're looking for information about the automotive manufacturing industry in Czech Republic.

So here are the Whats, the Hows and the Wheres:

WHAT? You will need to start gathering the following information:
  1. The names of top 5 players in targeted industry in the respective country
  2. Local industry association
  3. Consulting / market research companies that cover the industry in that country
  4. Local business publications online
  5. Local industry events

HOW? Using the following tools:

  1. Use Chrome browser and have the translation plugin in place
  2. Search on the .com version of google initially
  3. Try  multiple keywords, depending on the results you're getting: use Production / Manufacturing, Automotive / Cars  / Vehicles
  4. After you've gathered some names of players, go on the local google search engine []. Use the "original version" of your English search terms.

WHERE? Many sources actually, allowing you to double-check your findings.

First of all, you'll have a macroeconomics chapter, where you'll include figures to help you put industry values into context. For this one, you can use global databases such as Nationsencyclopedia or The World Factbook.

Secondly, you should fill in industry turnover, Year-on-Year evolution, CAGR, predictions, number of players. Best source here is the national industry association. Read this post and this other post on this blog to see if you should rely on an industry association to provide you with good quality data.

This kind of industry overview can also be found in the quality media - national business publications - in the final paragraphs of articles / interviews with top industry players. A good jurnalist always documents and gives background, contextual information about the industry when talking about one of the preeminent players. And while we're at it, pay close attention to key players' CEO interviews: these people know very well their industry and offer a wealth of already-formed opinions about the trends, predictions, challenges and opportunities. 

Equally, market research and consulting companies, after producing an industry study, may issue press releases with their main findings and conclusions - search for those ones in the business newspapers as well.

If you have spotted some local industry events and conferences that took place in the last 12 months, search by their name to find any statements or press releases about what has been discussed during. Figures and statistics can be included, if debated during business events.

On a final note, always check the dates of the articles, studies, interviews, documents, presentations you discover. 2008 or 2009 data is highly irrelevant, considering the crisis that has disrupted the economic trends.

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