Industry Building Blocks
Industry & Competitive Intelligence
Industry Classifications
Industry Classification Systems
There are numerous industry classification systems in use today, most of which began as country-centric industry information efforts based on the original SIC codes which were developed in the United States in the late 1930's. Officially, SIC codes were replaced by NAICS codes in 1997. NAICS codes are used by the US Federal Government, most U.S. banks who provide government-related loans, most companies who sell to the U.S. government, and many other firms.
A summary of what some consider the top Industry Classification Systems are shown below.*
Industry Classification System Name
Number of
Developer / Owner
Industry Building Blocks Classification SystemTM
~ 18,000  .
 Industry Building Blocks
Revere Data
Revere Hierarchy TM  & Revere Indexes TM 
~ 11,000 ?
 Revere Data LLC
North American Industry Classification System
1,066 .
U.S., Canada & Mexico
Standard Industrial Classification
1,007 .
 U.S. (Used by the SEC)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification
~1,000 .
 Australia & New Zealand
Hoover's Industries / First Research Industries
~ 1,00 .
D&B / Hoover's Inc
Statistical Classification of Economic Activities in the European Community
~ 800 .
European Community
International Standard Industrial Classification
441 .
 The United Nations
Global Industry Classification Standard
 157 .
Thomson Reuters Business Classification
  824 .
 Thomson Reuters
Industry Classification Benchmark
 114 .
 Dow Jones, FTSE

*Each of these Industry Classification Systems appear to use their own definition of an "Industry". The number of "industries" listed above is a best guess after trying to normalize the different terminologies used.
It is significant to note that except for the IBBCS, all of the other Industry Classification System appear to be hierarchies. The IBBCS has no fixed hierarchy.
The goal at is to use Porter's definition and methodologies as much as possible. To date, the only simplifying assumption was to view most all industries as global in scope. Otherwise, the IBBCS uses Michael Porter's five forces methodology to determine appropriate industry boundaries for most all industries. For those not familiar with Michael Porter's methodologies, the following definition of an industry may be useful to you:
 "One or more businesses (companies, partnerships, sole proprietorships, etc.) providing one or more products (and/or services, solutions, etc.) to one or more external customers, and where the process of building the product or providing the service are similar."  - by Alan S. Michaels after many years using Porter's methodology and written in 1994 for a senior vice president of a global bank in the middle of a heated annual planning session which required a clear, one sentence, non-technical definition of what Porter means by an industry to be used by the company's top executives, not all of whom were familiar with Porter's work (and, therefore, using the phrase "examination of the five forces" was not permitted).
For more information on some of these "industry" classification systems above, please view the tabs at the left.