Porter's Five Forces Research Guide

Industry Codes

Government coding schemes were developed for purposes of tracking industry productivity, employment, growth, etc.

  • Prevalent in the US is the North American Industry Classification System, NAICS, and its predecessor, the Standard Industrial Classification, SIC. 
  • US company directories and some industry research sources often use these codes or create their own variations. 

To find your industry's code, go to this page on the US Census Bureau website, identify the right code(s), and use it for searching for reports.


Business and trade publications, as well as trade associations, compile all manner of company rankings.

  • Because trade journals and associations focus on specific industries, their rankings and company lists are often the most accurate and comprehensive and great resources for identifying competitors, suppliers, and customers.
  • Special issues may include company profiles which can be very helpful if these companies are privately held and not much else information is available.

To find rankings, go to Business Insights: Essentials and go to Advanced Search to search by company name or a 5-digit NAICS code. Use the Content Type drop down under Select Limiters to find Rankings or Market Share data for major competitors in an industry.


Comparables within broad industry sectors are used by equity analysts for purposes of comparing public companies' performance.

  • Caveat: Equity analysts follow public companies in broad sectors, and these categories may be too broad for a meaningful industry analysis.  Comparables may also be based on common financial structures, performance metrics, and not necessarily industry sectors.

To find industry reports by brokerages/equity analysts, go to Investext on the Mergent Online platform.