Because no company operates in a vacuum, gather info about what drives the industry for your situation analysis: how many competitors are there; who are the key players; how easy is it for a new company to enter this market; is demand growing or waning; what factors are critical to attracting customers and so on.
Use the left side link on the company report screen to pull up the industry report for that company (pdf or html format).
Standard & Poor's Industry Surveys Covers the structure of the industry, economic conditions, consumer behavior and other factors with a big impact (e.g. innovation); and it carries standard balance sheet data for industry leaders. Also tells how to use such data to identify companies in that industry that are doing well (e.g. what's a healthy amount of debt to carry).
This database can't be beat for smaller industries like like astro-turf, craft beers, online flower shops and the like. It indicates the supply chain for that segment of the market, about 10 years of financials for industry leaders, and more.
Encyclopedia of American Industries. Online access via this link. Detailed information on industries, organized by SIC code.
Encyclopedia of Emerging Industries. Online access via this link.
Business Source Complete has both global and individual country reports for lots of industries. Enter an industry name. On the next screen click on the left navigation bar link for industry profiles. Click on the pdf icon to see the full report. Sample industry profile.
Lexis Nexis Academic: . To see an industry snapshot, choose Find at the upper right of the landing page.
Key in Hoover's and select Hoover's Industry Snapshots from the list . On the home page enter a company (e.g. Harley) if unsure of the industry or enter an industry name (e.g. beverages) and press SEARCH.
Browse results list or sort by relevance.
Click on the Search tab and do a text search for the industry and country e.g. Beverages and China. Comprehensive and timely info about demand, prices, consumer preferences, and much more. See also links in right navigation bar to Country Factfile, Consumer Lifestyles, and profiles of companies that are industry leaders.
NOTE: The box below this one links to a step-by-step video for two of these database.
See the tab for References Sources on this class web page or the Industry LibGuide for more electronic sources.
In the Lexis Nexis research database, ratios for any group of publicly traded companies can be compared by searching in the Company Dossier portion of the site.
NOTE: This will work best with companies who are direct competitors in the industry (i.e. they have the same primary NAICS code that your company has). Comparing two companies with diversified operations may be of limited value.
For example, Apple and Motorola are competing for mobile phone business; but each one competes in a good many other product markets as well. So ratios for the whole company do not give a very clear or complete picture of how they fare in the cell phone market.