The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is a numerical classification system used to group/classify like companies into industries for the purpose of collecting, analyzing and publishing statistical data related to the business economy. It represents a collaboration between the governments of Canada, Mexico and the United States stemming from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). It categorizes narrowly defined economic activities, or industries, in a consistent manner among the the three trading partners, although the system does leave room for fine level customization with each country. For more information, see the U.S. Census Bureau e-tutorial on NAICS.
Example of NAICS Classification by Digit Level:
The following websites can be used to identify appropriate NAICS codes:
Company Profiles may also be used to identify the NAICS code(s) for any industries in which a company may operate.
Begin researching by building a basic understanding of how an industry operates. Industry profiles are found in many business databases. They provide information on current market forces and trends, analyze industry performance, identify leading companies, and gather aggregate financial data and forecasts.
SEARCH TIP: Databases are often selective regarding the industries they choose to cover. The industry you are researching may not appear in every database listed.