The United States Census Bureau states NAICS is the North American Industry Classification System and this classification system is the standard used by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy. In 1997 it officially replaced the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system.

What is NAICS?


NAICS breaks down industries into 20 key sectors, with each of those 20 sectors having sub-sectors to further classify businesses within each industry. For market research purposes, these NAICS codes come in handy when purchasing B2B sample for targeted telephone and online studies. They are also used quite often by market research firms to collect business demographics and classify industries through the demographic sections in surveys.

Each specific business falls into a 6 digit NAICS code that begins with one of the 20 main prefixes below:

  1. 11 Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
  2. 21 Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction
  3. 22 Utilities
  4. 23 Construction
  5. 31-33 Manufacturing
  6. 42 Wholesale Trade
  7. 44-45 Retail Trade
  8. 48-49 Transportation and Warehousing
  9. 51 Information
  10. 52 Finance and Insurance
  11. 53 Real Estate and Rental and Leasing
  12. 54 Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
  13. 55 Management of Companies and Enterprises
  14. 56 Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services
  15. 61 Educational Services
  16. 62 Health Care and Social Assistance
  17. 71 Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation
  18. 72 Accommodation and Food Services
  19. 81 Other Services (except Public Administration)
  20. 92 Public Administration

Are you wondering how specific these 6 digit NAICS codes get? If you are an Artichoke Farming, Field, Bedding Plant or Seed Production business, your NAICS code would be 111219. The first two digits fall within the (11) Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting and the final 4 digits specify the exact type of operation. So there really is a code for everything – 19,253 as of 2012 to be exact. If you are looking for definitions for NAICS code classification, read this PDF from the Census website. Also, here is a handy NAICS code look-up and search tool.

Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) is a market research firm located outside of Syracuse NY. If you are interested in hiring a market research consultant for your company’s needs, contact our Business Development Director Sandy Baker at or by calling 1-866-567-5422.