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 from Statistics Canada for small/medium ($30K-5M revenue), and large-sized businesses ($5M-20M revenue). You can use this information to see how your business measures up to the competition or when preparing a business plan.
Profitable vs Non-Profitable Businesses (Small/Medium)
Industry Expense Summary
(% of Total Expenses)
Industry Expense Analysis (% of Total Expenses)
How do I use this information?
It is one thing to have data about your industry, but another to understand what it means and 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 is 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.
The value of industry benchmarks
Financial performance benchmarks can help both new and existing businesses to better understand how competing firms operate in their chosen industry. For new businesses, the benchmarks can help you to prepare the financial elements of your business plan by providing details of the cost structure of similar businesses in your industry. By comparing the differences in expense categories for businesses within your industry you can better understand and forecast costs. You can also see how the cost structure of your business might change as it grows and revenue increase.
For existing businesses, using your industry’s benchmark data can help you identify where your business is underperforming, and evaluate the possible impact that changes in one area of your business will have elsewhere. Monitoring these figures closely, and comparing your business's performance against similar businesses in the same industry will help you to maximize productivity, minimize waste and run a competitive business. For example, if salaries represent around 10% of expenses for top performing companies in your industry, while your business spends closer to 20%, then you may need to assess whether this is an area for improvement.
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.
Canadian Industry Statistics
Canada Business Network
Profiles of Alberta Industries
List of Industry Associations