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Market Research

Market research using free Internet and Library subscription resources

What is Market Research?

Market Research refers to the study of the entire market and consumer behavior within that market.  It helps you understand your customers, familiarize yourself with the competition, and what people are prepared to pay for your product or service.    This is done by:

  • gathering and analyzing data about the position of a product or service in a market
  • by looking at demographics, customer income, behavior, needs, preferences, interests, spending habits and geographic locations
  • and, by analyzing the industry,competitors, and economic conditions and trends.

How to conduct market research

To find  Main Research Resources to Consult
Industry or industries your product or service is a part of NAICS Code
Research on your business industry, market and competitors Library databases (which include journals, trade periodicals, magazines) and internet sources
Other sources that cover your industry Market research reports, news sources, customer surveys, blogs written by experts, trade associations
Data and statistics Databases such as Statista, Census Bureau & other Government agencies sites, associations websites, surveys, interviews with experts, etc.

Use NAICS Code to Identify your industry

The NAICS Code is used to determine/identify which industry (or industries) best reflect or fit your primary lines of business (product or service). 

NAICS (pronounced Nakes) stands for North American Classification System, and is the standard used by Federal statistical agencies to classify business establishments for statistical and comparison purposes. Each business is classified into a six-digit NAICS code number based on the majority of activity at the business.  NAICS codes are also required by Federal, state, and local governments for administrative, taxes, or contracting purposes.

NAICS uses a hierarchical structure. A "hierarchy" is the relationship of one item to a particular category. NAICS is a two- through six-digit hierarchical classification system, offering five levels of detail.

NAICS Structure

The organization of NAICS is as follows:

  • Sector: 2-digit code
    • Subsector: 3-digit code
      • Industry Group: 4-digit code
        • NAICS Industry: 5-digit code
          • National Industry: 6-digit code

Note: Three sectors are represented by a range of 2-digit codes. These include Manufacturing (31-33), Retail Trade (44-45) and Transportation and Warehousing (48-49).


Level NAICS Code Title
Sector 44-45 Retail Trade
Subsector 441 Motor Vehicle and Parts Dealer
Industry Group 4412 Other Motor Vehicle Dealers
NAICS Industry 44122 Motorcycle, Boat, and Other Motor Vehicle Dealers
National Industry 441221 Motorcycle, ATV, and Personal Watercraft Dealers

Video: Finding an Industry NAICS Code

Types of Publications

Trade Journals are industry specific news publications

written for professionals in a given field.

Articles are often short, but very current. These

publications can be very helpful for market research.

Popular magazines are designed to inform readers

with varied backgrounds about a variety of current issues.

They are the least formal in scope and tone. 

Scholarly Journals are peer-reviewed and

written by subject experts. Articles are detailed

and often contain jargon.