How do Americans spend money? The Consumer Expenditure Surveys know

How did the COVID-19 pandemic change how people at different income levels spent? What impact did economic stimulus measures have on purchases? Consumer Expenditure Surveys (CE) could help you answer these questions and more.

Line graph of mean US Consumer Expenditure for (in descending household spend) Housing, Transportation, Food, Entertainment, Alcoholic beverages, and Reading
Data from CE Tables, 2013-2019 Multiyear table
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Adaptogens and Cannabis: Recipes for Stress Relief

Let’s face it: we are all stressed out. According the CDC Household Pulse Survey in 2019 In 2019, 8.1% of adults aged 18 and over had symptoms of anxiety disorder, 6.5% had symptoms of depressive disorder, and 10.8% had symptoms of anxiety disorder or depressive disorder. By April 2021, 32.1% of respondents reported symptoms of anxiety disorder or depressive disorder. We need to decompress.

Image of results from the CDC Household Pulse Survey showing percentage of respondents reporting symptoms of anxiety or depression as of April, 2021

Consumers are focused on health and wellness, including natural ingredients. In food, beverage, pain relief, and beauty products, adaptogens and CBD ingredients are becoming more popular and sought out by consumers. A simple search in PubMed for adaptogens and stress retrieved 317 articles discussing the efficacy of adaptogens in relieving stress.

Several Lippincott Library resources can help in exploring the opportunities for alternative or innovative ingredients.

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Consumer Marketing and COVID-19: Lippincott Library Resources


Covid 19: CDC

COVID-19 has turned the world the world upside down and dramatically impacted the way we behave.  New conditions require new solutions. Some of Lippincott Library’s resources can help make sense of what this means for consumer behavior and marketing. Below is a sampling of some resources and the types of information available.

The COVID-19 guide from Penn’s Biomedical Library provides links to campus, city, state and national resources oriented to the crisis, as well as to areas of emerging research.

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Survey Says: Explore Consumer Behavior with Statista

When you see the name “Statista,” you probably draw some immediate (and accurate) conclusions about the kind of information this database provides. What you may not know, however, is that in addition to providing market- and consumer-related statistics, Statista has also developed a feature called the Global Survey. This intuitive tool enables users to research and manipulate data on a wide variety of consumer behavior topics. Included in this survey is the ability to cross-tabulate data allowing further insight into consumer behavior. You are able to explore relationships between demographics and consumer activity. The following shows you how to use Statista’s Global Survey to create a crosstab aimed at discovering consumers’ grocery shopping habits.

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CBD and THC: green light for investment

Image of a cannabis plant
Image by Roberto Valdivia

A recent article in Bloomberg News instantly grabbed my attention.  Joe Montana, quarterback extraordinaire and football icon, now a venture capitalist, just participated in a $75 million funding for a company that sells marijuana products in stores throughout California.  Taking a risk on a controversial investment, Joe is positioned to win in an industry which he hopes can make a “serious impact on opiod use or addiction”.  In fact, cannabis related products could help football players or others in high impact, injury prone professions. This industry includes growers and retailers as well as medical and recreational products.

Like Joe, investors seem sweet on cannabis derived products that provide health and wellness benefits. But where is this industry headed as a business investment? How great is the risk? What are the opportunities? the library has a number of resources that can help to answer these questions.

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Hands Off the Wheel!

Lippincott Librarians sense trends as we help Penn students, faculty and staff dig for industry research, articles and data. In 2014, I worked with students researching machine vision and self-driving cars, and over the years, I have seen an increasing number of questions about the industry and technologies behind it. In 2019, I helped a student research Nuro, the Mountain View, California based robot delivery van company that has reached unicorn status, as reported in Inc. Just this week, Crunchbase reported that Uber is in talks for a $1B funding round for their self-driving car unit, a testament to how far businesses in this industry have come. As librarians, we observe industry life cycles through the support we offer to Penn.

Knowledge@Wharton recently featured a podcast with engineer Samuel I. Schwartz, author of No One at the Wheel: Driverless Cars and the Road of the Future, a book available through Van Pelt Library.

Photo of cars with signals around them on a highway.

If you are interested in learning more about the autonomous vehicle space, Lippincott Library and the Penn Libraries have resources beyond books, useful for researching emerging industries.

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Plumbing the pipeline: pharmaceutical products in development

The FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) approved a record 59 novel drugs in 2018 to treat diseases ranging from common illnesses like influenza to rare diseases like Dravet syndrome. 


Source: 2018 New Drug Therapy Approvals, CDER, p. 8

Cowen’s latest Therapeutic Categories Outlook and the IQVIA Institute’s Global Use of Medicine in 2019 and Outlook to 2023 both forecast pharmaceutical sales growth in the middle single digits (CAGR) over the next five years. Lippincott Library has several tools to help you discover areas of emerging therapeutic interest by screening for drugs in development and biopharmaceutical deals. 

BCIQ from BioCentury has a number of different ways to find information on drugs in the pipeline. BioCentury has published information and analysis related to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors for over 25 years. Their profile reports allow you to quickly visualize data by company, product, disease or target. The example below shows top targets for thyroid cancer.

Graph of Biocentury-TopTargets  by number of drugs for Thyroid Cancer

Selecting Companies, Products, Finance or Deals from the top menu provides many additional options for screening variables in each category.

Bloomberg’s Drug Explorer is another option for finding drugs in development. The data is supplied by Springer Nature (Adis) and can be found using the function BI PHRM DEX. The Drug Profiles tab permits screen by phase of development, status and geography, as well allowing you input a specific disease category or indication.

image of a Bloomberg Drug Profile Search

Profiles include:

  • Description – alternative names, registered indications, mechanisms of action and a basic explanation of the drug’s therapeutic uses. 
  • Timeline – information about changes in developmental phase including image of a list of companies using the Bloomberg Drug Companies Tabindication and geography, clinical trial data announcements, FDA actions and licensing changes.  
  • Phases – includes a table of all indications, phases and countries associated with the drug, as well as providing detailed commentary about movement between phases. 
  • Companies – companies associated with development of the drug, including originators and licensees

Thomson One includes Cortellis drug pipeline reports published by Clarivate Analytics. For public companies, these are available from the Company Overview under the Research; reports for non-public companies can be located by selecting Screening & Snapshot of a Cortellis drug pipeline reportAnalysis, then Research and Research Search. These are lengthy predefined reports that don’t allow you choose your own screening options. For large companies, a Cortellis competitive landscape report is available, providing information about a company’s positioning in its key therapeutic areas relative to its competitors.

For more intensive research needs, Cortellis data is available via Wharton Research Data Services (WRDS).  See our Pharmaceutical Industry Research Guide for additional resources focusing on this industry. 


It’s a buyer’s market: Using IBISWorld’s Procurement Reports

Whether you’re looking for a basic industry overview, for market research on a niche industry, or for the competitive landscape in a specialized market, you’ve probably looked at an IBISWorld  industry report.  IBISWorld doesn’t just offer market research through their industry reports collection – they also offer research on industry supply chains through their procurement reports. Here’s how you can use IBISWorld‘s procurement reports in your research.

procurement logo

To find procurement reports, go to IBISWorld and click the “Login” button to the right of the “Procurement Reports” banner. (Note: You can only access one of IBISWorld‘s collections at a time. You need to go back to IBISWorld‘s homepage to switch between the Procurement Reports and Industry Reports collections.) Now you can keyword search for a specific report or browse the full report collection.

wind power performanceIBISWorld‘s procurement reports are visually and structurally similar to their industry reports, and the procurement reports offer supply chain information that complements many of the available industry reports. For example, IBISWorld offers industry reports on several aspects of wind energy production, including “Wind Turbine Manufacturing in the US”. This report focuses on industry and company performance, covering industry growth and trends along with major companies operating in this industry.

However, a complementary procurement report on “Turbine Repair and Maintenance” focuses on pricing and buyers who are supporting this industry, covering the average cost of wind turbine repair services and analyzing whether buyers looking for this service are entering a buyer’s or seller’s market. In this case, growth is down in the wind turbine manufacturing industry so there aren’t many new turbines to maintain or repair. But there are a large number of turbine maintenance and repair companies competing for work, so prices for repair and maintenance services are being driven down. In other words, it’s a buyer’s market.

scorecardIBISWorld‘s procurement reports also cover the purchasing process for that industry at the end of each report. This is a valuable instructional section that covers lead time for purchasing a product or service, offers a “Buying-Decision Scorecard” to help decide how much to weight factors like cost and qualifications when choosing a supplier, and includes sample negotiation questions for vetting a potential supplier.

IBISWorld‘s Procurement Reports collection is a great resource for researching company and industry supply chains along with industry dynamics. Looking at a procurement report for an industry alongside its industry report is a great way to look at that industry from another perspective, or to see how different parts of an industry affect each other. Check out the Procurement Reports collection next time you’re looking for industry supply chain information.  If you’re not sure where to start, you can always ask a Lippincott Librarian for help.

Need a Lyft?: The Market for Ride-Sharing Apps

So you’ve heard about Uber’s latest round of VC funding or Lyft’s expansion into a new city, (or the latest scandal Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has caused), and you want to know more about the market for ride-sharing apps and the companies running them. With 93% of millennials saying they plan to continue using Uber despite the company’s recent bad press, these companies aren’t going anywhere.

Lippincott Library subscribes to databases that offer statistics, information about VC funding, market share, and user demographics for the companies operating in this market. As you search, note that databases often use different terminology to describe this market. Try searching ride-sharingride-hailing, car-sharing, and sharing economy to find information about this market.

PrivCo offers excellent coverage of Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing companies. Their company profiles include a company description, company financials, sources of funding, a list of investors, competitors in that market, and news and analysis about the company. While it can be tough to find financial information on startup companies like Uber and Lyft, PrivCo offers relatively comprehensive financial information for each company it profiles. (Note: You will need to set up an account based on your Penn email to access PrivCo.)

eMarketer also provides great coverage of Uber and other ride-sharing companies, offering a variety of statistics, narrative reports, and news stories. From a report on “What Lyft’s Funding, and Uber’s Struggles, Mean for the Sharing Economy” to statistics on why consumers use ride-sharing services or which apps they use most often,  eMarketer is a good resource to use. Try searching Uber,  Lyft, ride sharing, and ride hailing to find more information.

Thomson ONE has some useful analyst reports on Lyft, Uber, and other ride-sharing apps. To find these reports, click “Screening & Analysis” and then “Research”. Search for ride-sharing or ride-hailing in “Title”, or search for sharing in “Title”  and then click the And drop down menu to  add another search row and search Lyft or Uber in “Title/Text”.

If you want to dig into each company’s market share, use Market Share Reporter. Search ride hailing to find statistical tables  including “Ride-Hailing Industry, 2014“, “Ride-Hailing Apps in China“, as well as “Business Travel Transportation, 2014-2015” which includes market share data for Uber and Lyft.

IBIS World has industry reports on “Taxi and Limousine Services in the US” and on “Limousine and Town Car Services” that mention how Uber and Lyft are affecting these industries. You can find these reports by searching Uber, Lyft, and ride-sharing. While ride-sharing companies only comprise an estimated 6% of these markets, 6% of a nearly $11 billion market is nothing to sneeze at.

Mintel Oxygen also offers great coverage of consumer markets and products, including the market for ride-sharing apps. Try searching UberLyft, and ride sharing to find reports on the way ride-sharing apps have affected insurance companies, car rental and travel companies, and driven digital trends and new business models.

Feel free to contact Lippincott’s business research librarians with questions about researching this or any other market or industry!

Hungry for More: Researching the Online Food Delivery Market

how do you order food for deliveryWhen was the last time you used Seamless, Grubhub, or another one of the many online food delivery apps and services available? If you’re anything like me, or the 13% of American consumers who usually order food through a mobile app, it was probably last weekend. If you want to learn more about how these companies are changing the food delivery market, Lippincott Library is a good place to start.

Lippincott Library subscribes to databases that offer a variety of statistics, consumer demographic information, and market research about the online food delivery market. As you search, note that databases often use slightly different terminology to describe this market. Use search terms such as online food delivery, online-to-offline food delivery, online foodservice, and consumer foodservice to find information on this market.

Statista provides a wealth of statistical and narrative information about the online food delivery market. Search online food delivery and online foodservice to find a dossier covering online food delivery services in the US, along with statistics about many aspects of online food delivery. Statistics include which online food delivery company has the biggest market share, which company is most popular with consumers, and even the most common food people order online.

Mintel Oxygen offers market research reports and info-graphics on a variety of consumer services and products, focusing their coverage on the U.S. and the U.K. A quick search will bring you a comprehensive report on The Online Foodservice Consumer.  This report covers barriers to entry, opportunities, and consumer demographics for this market. Search online food delivery to access this report and others related to this market.

Passport GMID offers global coverage of market research and statistics on many consumer services and products, including foodservice. You can use Passport GMID in two ways: 1) to find every publication and statistic about a particular industry or 2) to find any publication or statistic that mentions a specific term. For option 1), go to “Search Full Tree” and drill into “Categories and Topics”. Scroll down to “Economic and Consumer Topics”, and start drilling into the “Digital Consumer” category. For option 2), try searching online food delivery, online foodservice, and consumer foodservice remote purchase to find category briefings, industry overviews, and news stories about this industry.

Thomson ONE  focuses on companythomson one information and includes analyst reports,  several of which cover the online food delivery market. To find these reports, click “Screening & Analysis” and then “Research”. Search for publicly traded companies such as Grubhub or search for keywords, for example, online food delivery in the “Title/Text” search box. Limit your search to industry reports and find coverage of the market as a whole rather than coverage of specific companies in this market.

EMIS provides international coverage of the online food delivery market, including a mix of market research and popular news coverage of this market. Search online food delivery to find comprehensive market research reports such as a recent report on the “Online Food Delivery Market in India 2017” along with news stories like a recent article about halal certification for online food delivery services in the United Arab Emirates.

Our technology industry-focused databases Gartner and Forrester also cover some aspects of this market, like customer experience, digital payment and digital wallet products, and delivery technology such as delivery drones.

I hope this whets your appetite to learn more about this rapidly growing industry. As always, contact Lippincott’s business research librarians with questions about researching this or any other industry!