Industry classification

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Industry classification or industry taxonomy organizes companies into industrial groupings based on similar production processes, similar products, or similar behavior in financial markets.

A wide variety of taxonomies is in use, sponsored by different organizations and based on different criteria.[1]

Abbreviation Full name Sponsor Criterion/
Node count by level Issued
ISIC International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities United Nations Statistics Division production/
4 digits
1948–present (Rev. 4, 2008)
NAICS North American Industry Classification System Statistical bureaus of US, Canada, and Mexico production/
6 digits
17/99/313/724/1175 (/19745)1
1997, 2002, (2012)
NACE Statistical Classification of Economic Activities in the European Community European Community production/
6 digits
ANZSIC Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification
SIC Standard Industrial Classification US production/
4 digits
1004 categories
1937–1987 (superseded by NAICS, but still used in some applications)
ICB Industry Classification Benchmark FTSE market/
GICS Global Industry Classification Standard Standard & Poor's, Morgan Stanley Capital International market/
2-8 digits
UKSIC United Kingdom Standard Industrial Classification of Economic Activities
TRBC Thomson Reuters Business Classification Thomson Reuters market/
SNI Swedish Standard Industrial Classification

1The NAICS Index File[3] lists 19745 rubrics beyond the 6 digits which are not assigned codes.

Besides the widely used taxonomies above, there are also more specialized proprietary systems:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Standard & Poor's, "What's an Industry" pdf
  2. ^ a b Dave Nadig, Lara Crigger, "Signal from Noise" IndexUniverse, p. 2
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ First Research taxonomy at Hoover's


  • Michael E. Porter (1980). Competitive Strategy. Free Press, New York. ISBN 978-0743260886. 
  • Michael E. Porter (1985). Competitive Advantage. Free Press, New York. ISBN 978-0743260879. 
  • Bernard Guibert, Jean Laganier, and Michel Volle, "An Essay on Industrial Classifications", Économie et statistique 20 (February 1971) full text