Q. How do I identify and research company competitors?


There are a number of resources that can be used to identify and research potential company competitors. Below are several recommended library databases as well as websites for learning about how to be competitive in business and how to research competitors.


Mergent Intellect

This is the best database for identifying potential competitors, as you can search by industry for both public and private companies, and organize them by dollar amount in sales and location.

1. Open the database. 

2. Click Industry in the search bar. 

Industry option located in search bar

3. Type in either the SIC code, NAICS code, or keyword. Type slowly and allow the database to process what you've typed, and suggestions will appear. Click on the most appropriate choice.

Selecting telecommunications as industry

4. An initial menu of the top companies in the industry will appear. If you want to go deeper into the data, click on View Results at the bottom right of the screen.

5. A page of results organized by sales will appear. Companies with the highest sales will load first. These large, likely publicly traded companies could potentially be a competitor for your company or the company you are researching. However, if your company is a smaller (likely privately owned) company, you can click on the less than $1 or $5 million in sales options to reveal companies that are likely more similar to your own.

Filtering by dollar amount

6. Alternatively, you could also select Ownership Type > Private.

Selecting ownership type

Select Private from the Filter area

7. After sorting with either option, a new list of results will appear. You can review (and reorganize) the companies' sales, number of employees, ownership type, location, and country. Organizing by location may be particularly useful if you need to identify competitors in your state or region. Click on Location, which will the put the companies in alphabetical order.

8. Additionally, you can often click on the company's name if it has a blue hyperlink to reveal more information about the company. You may also wish to open their website by clicking on the link (when available) in the URL column. If the hyperlink to their website is not available within the database, try searching for the company on Google instead.

Mergent Online

Mergent Online is a great database for accessing company information. You might start with this database if you've already identified your competitors - especially if they are public companies, as Mergent Online excels in data about publicly traded companies, though you can search by industry as well.

You can search for information about your competitors, one company at a time. Simply search for the company by their name on the home page. Be sure to select the company that most closely matches the company you are looking for. 

Additionally, you can also easily compare companies within Mergent Online. Watch the video below for details.

First Research

First Research is a fantastic database for accessing industry information. So, if you need broad industry information this is a great place to start.

1. Start by typing in a keyword, SIC, or NAICS code for your industry.

2. Select the most appropriate industry.

3. An Industry Overview will appear, with sections like News and Social, Quarterly Industry Update, Industry Forecasts, Business Trends, Opportunities and more. Many of these sections may provide names of potential competitors, or give you a broad idea of what other competitors are doing in terms of trends and opportunities. 

  • Last Updated Nov 24, 2021
  • Views 340
  • Answered By Kate Anderson, Business Librarian

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