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:
|NAICS||411||Farm Product Wholesaler-Distributors|
|NAICS||412||Petroleum Product Wholesaler-Distributors|
|NAICS||413||Food, Beverage and Tobacco Wholesaler-Distributors|
|NAICS||414||Personal and Household Goods Wholesaler-Distributors|
|NAICS||415||Motor Vehicle and Parts Wholesaler-Distributors|
|NAICS||416||Building Material and Supplies Wholesaler-Distributors|
|NAICS||417||Machinery, Equipment and Supplies Wholesaler-Distributors|
|NAICS||419||Wholesale Electronic Markets, and Agents and Brokers|
|SIC||50||Wholesale Trade - Durable Goods|
|SIC||51||Wholesale Trade - Nondurable Goods|
»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.