Library Skills

Finding Market, Company and Country Information

As part of your business, management or accounting studies, you may need to find specific information on companies, markets, industries or a country.

You may have been asked to produce a report, SWOT or PESTEL analysis.

Here you will find some resources you can use to locate appropriate information.


SWOT And PESTEL Analysis

If you are compiling a SWOT analysis of a company or industry, you may want to look for:

Information: Where to find:
Market and industry reports Mintel, IBISWorld, Business Source Complete, COBRA
Databases containing journal articles and trade publications Business Source Complete
Latest news International Newsstream
Company websites and trade associations in a particular industry Companies' websites

A PESTEL(sometimes PESTLE) analysis will require you to look at the same resources, but to focus on the areas within PESTEL.

When searching databases for journal articles, you may wish to add keywords like social, political, environmental (or sustainability, green), legal (or law, regulations) etc. to your search to try to find comment on these particular aspects of doing business in a particular sector.


Market And Industry Reports

Mintel Academic gives access to reports on various market sectors, themes and demographics:

SECTOR Automotive, Beauty, Clothing & Footwear, Drink, Financial Services, Food, Foodservice, Health & Wellness, Home, Household Care, Leisure & Entertainment, Lifestyles, Personal Care, Retail, Technology, Travel
THEME Austerity & Value, Brexit, Convenience, E-Commerce, Ethical & Green, Healthy Lifestyles, Ingredients, Media & Advertising, Mobile, Packaging, Premium & Luxury, Social Media
DEMOGRAPHIC Consumers, Baby Boomers, Kids, Men, Millennials, Mothers, Multicultural, Singles, Teens, Women

You can extract data and create charts from the interactive databook for each report.

Use the Table of contents to access chapters on market share and forecast, consumers, key players, trends etc.

It you want to see all reports available click on Schedule then UK reports. Open up the area in which you are interested to see details of existing and forthcoming reports.

It may be easier to find reports on themes and demographics by using the search box at the top of the screen rather than browsing. You will also find relevant comments within reports on particular markets.

The IBISWorld database provides access to the following reports (so covers not only the UK, but China and the USA):

  • UK industry reports (400 industries covered)
  • US Industry reports (700 industries covered)
  • China industry reports (200 industries covered)

Industry reports start with a useful definition of the industry and offer the chance to the look at the industry at a glance, peformance and outlook, details of major competitors, operating conditions and statistics. It is possible to download the whole report as a PDF file.

IBISWorld also contains Brexit Impact Statements on UK industries plus Business Environment Profiles for both the UK and US (covering the business environment as it impacts particular markets).

As well as journal articles, Business Source Complete also contains market research reports and industry profiles from companies such as MarketLine.

Search on the name of an industry or market. Use the options on the left of the screen to narrow your results to particular types of report (Market Research reports, Industry Profiles, SWOT Analyses). Narrow the date searched on the left of the screen to find the latest information:

COBRA database provides brief Sector Guides on a variety of industries in the UK containing links to useful sources of further information.

In addition, Business Opportunity Profiles (BOPs) give handy information and advice on setting up different sorts of businesses, while Business Information Factsheets (BIFs) give practical advice on the legal matters.

News Sources

Details from market research reports by other companies are reported in television or online bulletins. Searching the websites of these companies may allow you to access an executive summary of their report - but as they are trying to sell the full report you will not get full details.

Searching International Newsstream may pull up additional press coverage and may give you further comment on the industry.

Statistics

Seach the websites of the Office for National Statistics the "largest independent producer of official statistics and the recognised national statistical institute of the UK" (particularly the sections on Business, Trade and Industry and Economy) or Statistics.Gov.Scotland for a range of statistics on numerous topics. Both websites will also refer you to additional sites where appropriate.

Outside the UK, the national equivalents of the ONS or a suitable trade or business department of government may give you some statistics - but this will vary widely by country. Bodies such as the World Bank and OECD also give country and regional general economic statistics. Occasionally you will find a report more specifically on the broad sector you are examining.

Past Dissertations

Fourth year undergraduate students and postgraduate students within the Aberdeen Business School can see previous ABS dissertations from the dissertation module on CampusMoodle.

This page is maintained by ABS. If you can't see any examples for your course, please contact your lecturer.

Company Information and Accounts

FAME (Financial Analysis Made Easy) provides access to, in most cases, 10 years of financial data, including balance sheets, profit and loss accounts and ratios, for companies in the U.K. & Republic of Ireland matching the following criteria:

  • Annual turnover of more than £1.5 million
  • or Profits of more than £150,000
  • or Shareholder Funds of more than £1.5 million

FAME also contains other company information including contact details, number of employees, names of directors, ownership and subsidiaries.

As our in depth Fame guide shows, it's easy to search for individual companies and to conduct a Peer Comparison comparing one company to similar companies. You can generate lists of companies in the same industry using for example, UK SIC codes (Standard Industry Classification codes) and compare their financial performance in data format and on graphs etc. Data can be readily exported in Excel files.

OSIRIS contains financial ccounts for over 10,000 publicly listed companies based in over 160 countries.

You can view or export data for individual companies or select companies which fit particular criteria (location, industry, financial data etc.) as required.

You can also create graphs and diagrams.

Search for the name of a company on Business Source Complete and use the Resource Type option on the left to restrict your search to SWOT Analyses to see reports by companies such as MarketLine.

Make sure you choose the latest SWOT Analysis - it may not be a the top of the list of results.

Remember that the SWOT Analyses provided are brief and not comprehensive.  If your lecturer has asked you to prepare a SWOT analysis they will not expect you to rely solely on the analyses provided on Business Source Complete. You will also need to find further articles and information on the other business databases..

The websites of large companies will give access to their annual reports and accounts - often these are located in the Investor Relations section.

Websites such as AnnualReports.co.uk allow you to search by company name or industry.

For smaller UK companies, details may be available at Companies House.

Newspaper Articles

You could search the individual websites of individual newspapers for the latest information on particular companies or industries.

But it's quicker to use our International Newsstream database to search over 600 newspapers from around the world at the same time.

Our International Newsstream guide gives full details on using the database.

Newpaper coverage includes The Times, Financial Times, The Guardian, The Scotsman, The Bangkok Post, El Norte, Jerusalem Post, South China Morning Post, Asian Wall Street Journal.

As well as containing articles from scholarly journals, market and industry reports and profiles, Business Source Complete also includes articles from numerous trade publications - including, for example, the Grocer, Logistics & Transport Focus, Accountancy and Management Today.

Use the options on the left of the screen to restrict your results to Trade Publications as required.

Company websites will have a News or Press releases section - but remember that the company will tell you what it wants you to know, when it wants you to know and usually in a manner which reflects as positively as possible on the company.

Articles in newspapers, trade publications or journal articles will give a more objective view of a company or industry.

The business sections of the websites of the BBC and Yahoo! Finance contain a wealth of information.

Although you will only get details of market research reports they mention, and will not get access to the full text, you may be able to find further details of reports in a newspaper article or a free summary on the website of the market research organization or other body which carried out the research (for example Ipsos MORI) or the organisation which commissioned it.

Country Information

Business Source Complete contains profiles of numerous countries. They cover economic, political and other aspects of the country.

To find a country report, simply search on the name of the country and use the option on the left of the screen under Source Types to narrow to Country Reports.

Among the companies providing annual reports are IHS and Country Watch.

Not all countries are covered on Business Source Complete. You will also find that some countries are covered in more detail than other countries or in a greater range of reports.

If you are asked to pick a country for an assignment on exporting it is a good idea to check which reports are available for which countries before making your choice.

globalEDGE™, created by the International Business Center and the Eli Broad College of Business at Michigan State University, is a knowledge web-portal that provides access to a wealth of "information, insights, and learning resources on global business activities".

Choose to access information by Country, Trade Bloc or Industry as appropriate.

As well as Quick Links to other relevant websites, the Resources option (on the left) on the introductory screen for particular countries contains links to the websites of relevant organizations. These can include the websites of business or regulatory bodies or the country's national statistical organisations.

Additional resources are available through the Reference Desk.

It is also possible to use the Tools and Data option to compare countries.

Both these options are available in the bar at the top of the screen.

Gov.UK: Exporting and doing business abroad provides information from the Department of Trade and Industry including links to information on licences and special rules.

The exporting country guides provide details on aspects of doing business in individual countries.

Great.gov.uk is the new website from the Department of Trade and Industry and contains advice on a number of issues including preparing to do business in a foreign country and preparing an export plan which also includes links to advice from Export Savvy and Open to Export.

The US Department of Commerce country commercial guides are aimed at American exporters but also include information of use to exporters in other countries.  Export.gov also includes information on selected global industries.

Doingbusiness.org from the World Bank may also contain additional reports on selected countries plus an extensive collection of statistcal data from around the world.

The CIA World Factbook provides information on the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 267 world entities. It can be a useful quick source of basic data on countries.