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When conducting competitive analysis research, it’s critical that market and competitive intelligence (M/CI) practitioners make use of robust datasets from reputable sources. All competitive analysis starts with raw data collected by organizations around the world. Without this, it’s impossible to conduct an effective competitive analysis research process.

CI teams often struggle to extrapolate the vast quantities of raw data they gather into insightful analysis. Collecting data is a valuable part of competitive analysis, but it’s also very time consuming, and may drain the resources of CI teams. With the endless amount of data that exists on the internet, it’s difficult to know where to begin. 

To help you out, we’ve put together this list of nine of the most important data sources to reference when conducting competitive analysis research. These are all fantastic sources of raw data and act as a solid foundation for your competitive analysis. 

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Here’s the list:

Crunchbase

If your competitors are privately held companies, Crunchbase is an invaluable tool. Data on private companies is normally very difficult to obtain, but Crunchbase is a reliable source of data on several fronts. Key areas of focus include financial changes, like a new round of funding, or hiring trends.

While useful for doing a deep dive on privately held companies, Crunchbase also makes it easy to compare several companies and track the wider market. This is particularly relevant in industries which are vulnerable to disruption by emerging, tech-enabled players. Crunchbase users can track the wider market and gauge the maturity of competitors based on criteria like funding status and number of employees. This kind of data makes it easier than ever to track new threats emerging in the market. 

To learn more, check out our detailed overview of using Crunchbase for competitive analysis.

TechCrunch

TechCrunch is one of the primary sources of startup news available on the internet. It has features that include fundraising announcements, news tagging, and automations. Competitive analysis practitioners primarily use TechCrunch to keep up-to-date on the latest startup innovations, market trends, and investments. TechCrunch data is well-organized and tagged, making it a relatively simple process to find the right data.

Researchers can subscribe to TechCrunch for more advanced features, including IPO analysis, disruptive opportunity alerts, and competitor intelligence tools. Users can also sign up for daily email summaries of all the key news in their industry. 

LexisNexis

One of the largest data sources available for competitive analysis is LexisNexis, a huge platform with research compiled from more than 60,000 sources. There are a wide variety of different products and data sources available on LexisNexis, and users will typically only work in the platforms that are most relevant to their industry.

The scope of the data that LexisNexis encompasses is unparalleled, featuring everything from legal filings to information shared in YouTube videos. However, manually sourcing and processing all this data can be difficult, and many competitive analysis researchers will look for a more automated way to gather, process, and analyze this considerable quantity of data.

Related: Using LexisNexis for Competitor Analysis

SEC EDGAR Database

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) hosts the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval (EDGAR) database.

The EDGAR database contains submissions made by companies that are required to file forms with the SEC. These filings are financial documents and include information on a company’s financial position, subsidiaries, M&A transactions, and much more. Needless to say, the information contained in these filings is invaluable for competitive analysis research and paints a very detailed picture of the position of your competitors. 

While EDGAR is free to access, there is an intimidating and constantly growing body of data to grapple with. Companies are required to make certain filings on a quarterly basis, so the information available on EDGAR is always reliable and up-to-date, making it a goldmine for competitive analysis researchers. 

International Monetary Fund

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an agency of the United Nations and is the largest lender of public funds worldwide. Their website is a fantastic resource for competitive analysis researchers looking to build an up-to-date view of governments, agencies, and financial institutions located all across the world. 

In addition to global macroeconomic data, the IMF also shares regularly updated data on commodity prices, government lending, and interest rates. All of this data is particularly valuable in analysis frameworks like SWOT analyses and paints a detailed picture of a competitor’s external environment, particularly in regard to the opportunities and threats they face.  

OANDA

For competitive analysis research of a global nature, OANDA is an indispensable resource, providing advanced data and analytics on over 200 global currencies. OANDA stands apart from other data sources in this space due to its data quality, real-time updates, and determinations of market value. 

If your competitors primarily operate in international markets, it’s likely they don’t report their performance in U.S. dollars. When building a competitive analysis, it’s important to have the ability to accurately convert financial data shared in international currencies to your own. In a way, this ensures that your competitive analysis compares apples to apples. OANDA provides competitive analysis researchers with the tools to do this and much more.

Related: Using OANDA for Competitor Analysis 

OECD

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international organization comprised of the governments of 37 member countries, who together account for 63% of global GDP. The OECD maintains an enormous database that covers a wide variety of areas relevant to competitive analysis, including demographic information, government spending, inflation, and much more.

Companies competing in the global economy can use OECD data to keep track of competitor’s activities and position in different markets all around the world. Pulling data from the OECD is no easy feat however, and requires a lot of manual work, or the assistance of a tool like Knowledge360Ⓡ.

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Clinicaltrials.gov

For companies in the life sciences industry, clinicaltrials.gov represents one of the most valuable data sources in the market for conducting competitive analysis research. The website enables companies to access a wide assortment of information covering clinical trials of new drugs or medical devices that are seeking FDA approval. 

This resource enables life science companies to keep a close watch on the product development activities of key competitors and to keenly monitor new innovations and discoveries. Life sciences organizations can use this data to track the successes and failures of their competitors, analyze where competitors are making big investments, and anticipate when new drug therapies or devices might come on the market. 

To learn more, read our detailed overview of using clinicaltrials.gov for competitor analysis

FactSet

FactSet is one of the leading providers of financial data, drawing in data from hundreds of external databases to track market trends and the financial performance of businesses globally. By tracking the key financial moves of competitors, companies can proactively ensure they always remain a step ahead. 

Similar to other resources, the amount of data available in Fact Set is enormous. To be successful, researchers should embrace competitive intelligence automation tools that enable them to contextualize and make sense of this mountain of data, focusing on the key insights.

Final Thoughts on Competitive Analysis Research

There’s no shortage of data that competitive analysis researchers can incorporate into their work. But in truth, the sources discussed here barely scratch the surface of the vast quantity of information that is available today. 

If you’re not sure where to start with your competitive analysis research, head to our Competitor Analysis Resource Center, where you’ll find helpful tools like a Competitor Analysis Toolkit and our Ultimate Competitor Analysis Template. Or you can dive right into our complete Guide to Building a Competitor Analysis.

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Read Now: Finding Success in the World of Competitive Analysis