Industry Codes

Published: Jul 25, 2019
Last Updated: Aug 2, 2019
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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 5112 – Software Publishers Publishing computer software (often packaged); Producing and distributing computer software; Assisting in software installation; Providing support to software purchasers
NAICS 511212 – Video Game Publishers (CAN) Producing and distributing computer video game software; Providing support services to video game purchasers
NAICS 5415 – Computer Design and Related Services Writing, modifying, testing and supporting software; Internet webpage development; Planning and designing computer systems that integrate hardware
NAICS 541515 – Video Game Design and Development Services (CAN) Video game designing and developing (not publishing); Custom designing video games to meet specific user needs

»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.