Discover Industry Trends

How it's done

An important part of market research is gathering information about your industry, and we can help with this. By researching your industry thoroughly, you can minimize the risk to your business, identify new opportunities and communicate better with your customers.

What trends are impacting the industry?

Select an industry.

What are the industry benchmarks?

In this section you will find financial performance benchmarks for businesses in your industry. Operating firms can use this information to see how your business is performing compared to the average for businesses in your industry. For emerging businesses, this information can create more accurate financial forecasts when preparing a business plan. The data is sourced from the Internal Revenue Service and reports only those corporations with net income.

Select the asset size of your business
As a first step, use the slider below to select the existing or anticipated value of assets held by your business. You'll see the financial performance benchmarks for your industry will differ between asset sizes.

Your Asset Size:

Profit margin (pre income tax) measures a firm's earnings before income tax as a percentage of total revenues or sales. The higher the pre income tax profit margin, the more profitable the firm.

Profit margin (after income tax) is a measure of how well a company controls its costs after taxes. It tells business owners and investors the percentage of income that a firm actually earns per dollar of its sales.

Debt ratio measures the debt level of a business as a percentage of its total assets. It indicates the ability of a business to pay off its liabilities with its assets.

Source: 2013 Corporation Source Book of Statistics of Income

Industry Expense Analysis (% of Total Expenses)
This chart shows industry averages across 18 expense categories. By examining the differences in expense categories for businesses within different asset levels you can get a more accurate reading of expected costs for firms that match your current or anticipated asset level. Furthermore, you can project how the cost structure for your business may change as your business grows.

Source: 2013 Corporation Source Book of Statistics of Income

Financial Ratios
Liquid Ratios
Liquidity ratios measure a firm's ability to pay its short-term debts and long-term liabilities as they become due.
Current Ratio
Compares a firm's current assets to its current liabilities, and measures a firm's ability to pay short-term and long-term obligations.

How to Calculate?

Quick Ratio
Measures the ability of a business to pay its short-term liabilities using quick assets - which are assets that can be converted to cash in the short-term.

How to Calculate?

Efficiency Ratios
Efficiency ratios measure how well a company uses its assets and liabilities internally to generate income.
Asset Turnover
Measures how efficiently a business is using its assets to generate revenue. A higher ratio indicates greater efficiency.

How to Calculate?

Inventory To Working Capital
Measure of a firm's ability to finance its inventories from its available cash. Generally, the lower the ratio, the higher the firm's liquidity.

How to Calculate?

Source: 2013 Corporation Source Book of Statistics of Income

How do I use this information?

It is one thing to have data about your industry, but another to have thought it through understand what it means, and determine what actions you will take to use it to your advantage. In this section, we give you some tips on how to analyze your industry.

Understanding your industry

Businesses that don’t understand their industry fail. So you need to have an intimate knowledge of your industry if you want to prosper. Part of this is knowing your target customers and competitors. However, there’s a range of other questions your industry research should also seek to answer including:

  • What trends are impacting your industry?
  • Are there any social, cultural, environmental or geographical factors that impact your industry?
  • What's the outlook for your industry for the next 3 to 5 years?
  • What is the size of your industry?
  • What is the overall growth potential of your industry?
  • What are your industry benchmarks?
  • How does the state of the local, national and global economy impact your industry?
  • How is technology affecting your industry?
  • What role does government or other requlatory bodies play in your industry?
  • Do any industry certifications (e.g. ISO) or insurance requirements exist?
  • What government regulations and laws affect your industry?
  • Are there any industry associations that your business may fit into?

Getting a thorough understanding of your industry will require using the information on this page and other sources to answer all these questions.

What else do I need to know about my industry?

While we are providing you with a range of valuable industry information, the fact is that all locations and industries are unique. As such, to really understand your local industry, you should supplement the information we give you with additional local research. The following organizations will help you research your industry and market trends.

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Tamarra Morris
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Director, Department of Economic Development

87 Reads Way, New Castle, DE, 19720