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Business Plans: Market Analysis

Resources for SBDC workshop on writing a business plan.

Government Statistics

The mother of all sources for demographic and economic data is the U.S. Census Bureau. For a brief statistical profile for your community, consult the State and County QuickFacts, which includes cities and towns with more than 5,000 people. [http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/]

You can also read Narrative Profiles for cites and towns as well as neighborhoods (called Census Tracts) and other geographic entities by selecting a location from a map of the U.S. or from pull-down menus for places, counties, and other geographies. [http://www.census.gov/acs/www/data/data-tables-and-tools/narrative-profiles/2015/]

For the latest detailed data from the annual American Community Surveys and the U.S. Census 2010, use the American FactFinder [http://factfinder.census.gov]

The Census Bureau has released a new mapping tool that could be useful for small and medium-sized firms which offer a select range of consumer products or services: Census Business Builder. [https://cbb.census.gov/sbe/]

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics periodically conducts the Consumer Expenditure Survey which provides information on consumers and their expenditures. [http://www.bls.gov/cex/]

ECommerce

Internet Retailer magazine regularly summarizes Trends & Data covering retail sales, online consumers, internet users, and mobile commerce. [http://www.internetretailer.com/trends/]

E-Commerce Statistics (E-STATS) from the U.S. Census Bureau provides an annual report on the size of the "electronic economy" by sector: manufacturing, wholesale, retail, and services.

Other Resources

PolicyMap displays many popular categories of social and demographic information as colored maps, including population, income, home ownership, education, and neighborhood conditions. [http://www.policymap.com/map]

Census Reporter summarizes data from the American Community Survey with charts and graphs for several popular topics, including demographics, income, housing, and educational attainment. [http://www.censusreporter.org]

ZoomProspector will display total consumer expenditures and retail potential for many major product and service categories, for major towns and cities. [http://www.zoomprospector.com]

The Right Site ® from Easy Analytic Software (EASI) has hundreds of thousands of free demographic profiles, based on Census of Population and Housing data. EASI Census 2010 Quick Reports are available for area codes and TV markets, as well as the usual geographic divisions. (Registration is required.) [http://www.easidemographics.com]

Another alternative to the American FactFinder is CensusScope, which is a portal to Census 2000 and some Census 2010 data. This site offers colorful charts, graphs and maps for many frequently requested data sets. [http://www.censusscope.org]

To see historical Census data displayed as maps, consult Social Explorer. This site provides access to maps based on selected data sets for censuses from 1790-2010. [http://www.socialexplorer.org]