Industry Codes

Published: May 13, 2016
Last Updated: Jun 30, 2016
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The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)

At the start of your research, it may not be clear what specific industry you should be examining. A good strategy is to find out if your business idea is classified in an industrial classification system. These systems organize industries by assigning them a numeric code. The most commonly used system is the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).  Once you know your Industry Classification Code you can use this number to:

  • Find industry-specific statistics on government websites or in library databases
  • Generate lists of competitors in company directories

Another common classification system is the Standard Industry Code (SIC). NAICS have most replaced the SIC, but the SIC is still used by some commercial databases. Finding and using these classification systems to effectively search can be tricky, so don't hesitate to ask a librarian for help.

Try These

Type Code Description
NAICS 44 - 45 Retail Trade
NAICS 4539 Other Miscellaneous Store Retailers
NAICS 448150 Apparel accessory stores, retail
NAICS 453220 Gift, Novelty and Souvenir Stores
NAICS 453920 Art Dealers
NAICS 5999 Retail Stores, Not Elsewhere Classified
SIC 711511 Independent visual artists and artisans

»Search or browse all NAICS or SIC codes on the NAICS Association website. Some NAICS codes are different in Canada, you can search by keyword or browse Canadian NAICS codes at Statistics Canada or Canadian Industry Statistics. To search for a SIC code using a NAICS code and vice-versa use the NAICS & SIC Crosswalks.   

For more information about planning your industry research and industry codes, check out the video tutorial for Module 3: Planning Your Industry Research.