Industry Codes

Published: Apr 19, 2011
Last Updated: Feb 1, 2016
Print Full Guide

The North American Industry Classification System

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.

Here Are Some Relevant Categories:

Code Description
NAICS 44-45 Retail Trade
NAICS 4411 Automobile Dealers 
NAICS 4412 Other Motor Vehicle Dealers  
NAICS 441110 New Car Dealers 
NAICS 441120 Used Car Dealers
NAICS 441210 Recreational Vehicle Dealers
NAICS 441220 Motorcycle, Boat and Other Motor Vehicle Dealers
SIC 55 Automotive Dealers & Service Stations
SIC 5511 New & Used Car Dealers 
SIC 5521 Used Car Dealers
SIC 5561 Recreational Vehicle Dealers
SIC 5571 Motorcycle Dealers

»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.