We see the terms data and statistics used interchangeably, but there is a distinction. Data is the raw information from which statistics are created. Alternatively, statistics are a summary or interpretation of data. Examples of statistics that can help you understand the industry include average industry production levels, annual sales, and market size.
Industry statistics can be found in both company and industry reports, so you may want to check both. If you are comparing a specific company to an industry, search for reports using that company's name or ticker. If you are doing industry analysis, you may want to identify one or more of the larger companies in the industry and comb through their reports for industry data.
The first place to start looking for industry statistics will be in industry profiles. Other sources of statistics include trade associations, investment reports, and consulting publications (note: most consulting firms will charge for in-depth industry profiles, but many offer overviews on their websites).
For specific details on databases and internet resources containing industry profiles, see our guide Find Industry Profiles.
The federal government is a credible and prolific supplier of industry and market statistics. Data is collected by almost all the federal government's bureaus, agencies, and departments. Some of the major data sources are listed below, but you should check the departments that regulate your industry (for example, check the U.S. Department of Transportation website for air transportation data). Check out our guides on Statistical Information and Government Sources for referrals to various government websites.
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