Trade associations are generally membership-supported organizations whose mission is to offer assistance and represent the interests of those operating in a specific industry. One of the many tasks performed by trade associations is to provide research information and industry metrics through methods such as conducting member surveys. Accessing this information may be as simple as visiting a trade association’s website, although some associations limit access to the best research to members only, in which case joining the association (if they permit) may include paying dues.
Finding trade associations for a particular industry or product can be a challenging task. In many cases the title of the association provides guidance on the industry they represent but this is not always the case. Another problem is that certain industries are represented by multiple trade associations. Thus, finding the right association can be a trial-and-error exercise.
If finding a trade association proves difficult, the research seeker may look to websites that are in the business of operating trade shows. Trade shows, which are organized events that bring both industry buyers and sellers together, are often sponsored by one or more trade associations. The trade show sites often identify the sponsors of these events.