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Please scroll down past the FAQ section on this page.

What are SIC codes?

The UK Standard Industrial Classification of economic activities, abbreviated as UK SIC, are five-digit standard industrial classification codes.

They are essentially a framework used by government agencies for collecting and presenting an extensive range of statistical data according to economic activity.

The UK SIC code system was last updated in 2007 to reflect the changing nature of the UK economy and the rapid rise of new and emerging industries.

There are now over 1,000 different SIC codes containing different types of traditional businesses and emerging industries.

SIC codes in the UK are primarily used by government agencies like Companies House and the Office of National Statistics.

They are used to monitor which areas of the economy business establishments are growing and which are in decline.

The use of SIC codes to record the activities of business establishments however has fallen out of favour with mailing list owners.

In comparison to the modern descriptive classifications, SIC codes seem somewhat vague.

Some of the splits between different activities do not seem as natural.

More Than Words note – for examples of how we can break down our mailing lists other than using SIC codes, please click for our industry sectors lists or for alphabetical B2B data lists.

Current economic and standard industrial classification codes

How do B2B marketers use SIC codes?

B2B marketers use SIC codes in the same way they use the more modern standard industrial classification.

They select the types of companies they wish to market to based upon those they believe to have the greatest need for their products and services.

When purchasing marketing databases from list owner and brokers, B2B clients look to eliminate as much “redundancy” as possible.

In direct marketing terms, “redundancy” means businesses or people you contact who would never have any interest in what you sell.

Money is also saved in the execution of those campaigns (lower email transmission costs, lower postal costs, fewer telemarketing calls made and so on).

What is the SIC code system for marketing?

SIC codes offer businesses a highly-focused, specific way to target potential customers.

The more precise your targeting, the better you are able to manage your time and resources.

The SIC system for marketing:

  1. Match SIC codes to the contacts on your existing marketing database
  2. Analyse your results to find the SIC codes which incorporate the greatest number of your customers. (if you are a more established business, you could also break this down to the primary sic code containing your best and most loyal customers)
  3. Use this data to target similar companies, classified in the same SIC codes identified in step 2.

More Than Words can provide you with a database made up of high-level buyers and decision makers within the primary SIC code or SIC codes of your choosing.

UK Companies House SIC Codes by group and classification

Section A

UK Standard Industrial Classification SIC Code Group 01-03 – Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing

Everything to do with growing and raising crops, commercial equipment, breeding and harvesting animals, and other activities related to farming or natural habitats are included in this section. Oil and gas field services related to the development of oil and natural gas are also included.

Click to view our list of farmers’ email addresses using business descriptive classifications.

Section B

UK Standard Industrial Classification SIC Code Group 05-09 – Mining and Quarrying

Mining and quarrying include digging for minerals such as coal and ores and treatment of petroleum products (excluding petrochemicals manufacture). This also includes production of gas field machinery and extracting natural gas.

Section C

UK Standard Industrial Classification SIC Code Group 10-33 – Manufacturing

Manufacturing includes the physical or chemical transformation of materials, substances, peripheral equipment or components into new products.

It can include pharmaceutical preparations, surgical appliances and hospital equipment.

This section also includes substantial repairs, alterations, and reconstruction of goods, as well as installation of commercial machinery such as accounting machines, materials handling machinery (such as metalworking machinery) and other construction materials.

Click to view our list of manufacturing companies in the UK using business descriptive classifications.

Click to view our list of manufacturers and suppliers in the UK using business descriptive classifications.

Section D/E

UK Standard Industrial Classification SIC Code Group 35 – 39 – Public utilities

Electricity, gas, steam, hot water and the like are included in this section, as well as the provision of electricity, gas, steam, hot water heating equipment, peripheral equipment etc – from both large and small power producers.

The management of waste (including collection, treatment, and disposal) covers solid and non-solid household or industrial waste as well as contaminated sites. The output of the waste or sewage treatment process is also included here.

Section F

UK Standard Industrial Classification SIC Code Group 41 – 43 – Construction

Construction activities covered in this section include general and specialized construction for buildings and civil engineering works, such as new construction, repairs, additions, and alterations.

General construction includes specialised stores such as those selling structural metal products and structural wood members.

This section also includes the repair of buildings as well as civil engineering works, bringing together financial, technical, and physical means to realize building projects.

This activity, if performed not for the future sale of construction projects, but to operate them (e.g. renting office space), would not be classified here, but according to its operational activity, e.g. real estate, manufacturing, etc.

Click to view our list of construction companies in the UK using business descriptive classifications.

Section G

UK Standard Industrial Classification SIC Code Group 45 – 47 – Wholesale and Retail Trade

The wholesale and retail sale of any type of good falls under this section, as does the provision of services related to the sale of goods.

Wholesaling and retailing are the final steps in the distribution of goods. Also included here are constructions of motor vehicle parts, passenger car bodies and repairs of motor vehicles and motorcycles. Finally, auxiliary equipment for use with machines for working textiles is included here.

Click to view our list of retailers using descriptive business classifications.

Looking for SIC codes for sports shops? The closest SIC code is 5091

Looking for SIC codes for butchers? The correct UK SIC code is 47720

Looking for SIC codes for health food shops? There is no exact match so the closest SIC code for this is 47290

Section H

UK Standard Industrial Classification SIC Code Group 49 – 53 – Transport and storage

The provision of rail, pipeline, road, water or air transportation, whether scheduled or unscheduled, as well as related activities such as terminals and parking garages, cargo handling, airport terminal services, and storage.

Renting transport equipment with an operator or driver falls under this section. Postal activities and courier services are also included.

Section I

UK Standard Industrial Classification SIC Code Group 55 – 56 – Accommodation and Food Services

The provision of accommodation for visitors and other travellers as well as complete meals and drinks suitable for immediate consumption are included in this section.

Long-term residences are not included in this section. Also excluded from the definition is the preparation of food or drinks that are not suitable for immediate consumption as well as those that are sold through independent distribution channels, such as wholesale or retail trade.

Section J

UK Standard Industrial Classification SIC Code Group 58 – 63 – Information and Communication

This section covers the production and distribution of information and cultural products, the provision of the means to transmit or distribute these products, data processing, hosting and related activities; web portals and other information services as well as other message communications.

Section K/L

UK Standard Industrial Classification SIC Code Group 64 – 68 – Finance, Insurance and Real Estate

Activities to support financial services are included in this section, including insurance, reinsurance, and pension funding activities.

In addition to these activities, this section includes the activities of holding assets, such as those of holding companies and trusts, funds, and similar entities.

Lessors, agents, or commodity brokers can be found here if they provide any of the following real estate services: real estate investment, regulating residential real estate, appraising real estate, and real estate property managers.

It also includes building structures and maintaining ownership of such structures.

Section M

UK Standard Industrial Classification SIC Code Group 69 – 75 – Professional, Scientific and Technical

This section includes specialised professional, scientific and technical activities. These activities require a high degree of training and give users access to specialized knowledge and skills, and include:

  • Activities related to legal and accounting
  • Activities of head offices; management consultancy activities
  • Engineering and architectural testing and analysis
  • Scientific research and development
  • Advertising and market research
  • Other professional, scientific and technical activities
  • Veterinary services

 Section N/O

UK Standard Industrial Classification SIC Code Group 77 – 84 – Administrative and Services

A variety of activities are included in this section that support general business operations. Different from the activities listed in section M, these activities do not have the primary objective of transferring specialized knowledge.

These include:

  • Rental and leasing activities
  • Activities of collection agencies and credit bureaus
  • Employment activities
  • Travel agency, tour operator and other reservation service and related activities
  • Security and investigation activities
  • Services to buildings and landscape activities
  • Office administrative, office support and other business support activities

Section P

UK Standard Industrial Classification SIC Code Group 85 – Education

Governing activities, usually performed by public administration, are included in this section.

In addition to the enactment and judicial interpretation of laws and regulations, the administration of programs based on these laws, taxation, public order and safety, immigration services, foreign affairs, and the administration of government programs fall within this sector.

Social security activities are also included in this section.

Section Q

UK Standard Industrial Classification SIC Code Group 86-88 – Health and Social

Social work activities, health and allied services are included in this section.

There is a wide range of operations within this field, from health care provided by medical professionals in hospitals and other facilities, and medical instruments to residential care that involves some level of health care to social work activities that are not health care related.

Section R

UK Standard Industrial Classification SIC Code Group 90-93 – Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

Included in this section are a number of activities catering to the cultural, recreational and entertainment interests of the general public, such as live performances, operation of museums, gambling, sports and recreation activities.

You may find commercial art products here, or under section G.

Section S

UK Standard Industrial Classification SIC Code Group 94-99 – Other

 As a residual category, this section includes the activities of membership organizations, the repair of computers and household goods, as well as a range of service activities not covered elsewhere in this classification.

Can you target specific buyers using your SIC codes list?

Yes. For all companies we have a senior contact but we also have the contact details for hundreds of thousands of decision makers.

We offer the following lists:

How can the data you hold on business establishments be used?

Once they’ve chosen the targets they wish to communicate with, our clients typically use their UK business database in one (or more) of three ways:

  1. B2B email database – email marketing campaigns return most investment per pound spent on them than any other type of online or offline marketing
  2. B2B telemarketing database – telemarketing remains a popular choice for B2B marketing because it opens a two-way, productive dialogue between you and your target audience.
  3. Business to business mailing list – although mail volumes have dropped in the last two decades, it still generates high quality responses from B2B audiences.

What if someone wants to use the SIC system but they don’t have the staff or infrastructure to carry out campaigns?

Many B2B marketing specialists offer managed B2B email marketing campaigns and managed B2B telemarketing campaigns for clients in these circumstances.

Order B2B business data from our UK SIC codes database

How to use SIC codes to select marketing databases

We have over three million business decision makers across over 1,000 SIC categories on our extensive, comprehensive, and always updated UK business database.

Whether you want to promote your products or services by email marketing, telephone marketing or postal marketing, we can find the people with purchasing responsibility within the UK companies which would benefit the most from what you sell.

For more information on the SIC system, or to discuss other services we offer, please call 0330 010 8300.

Or you can click here to email our marketing databases team.

UK SIC codes FAQ

SIC standards for “Standard Industry Classification” and SIC codes are the five-digit numerical codes used by limited companies to tell Companies House what their business activities are.

They are used by government agencies like the Office for National Statistics and Companies House to identify and categorise what businesses do as well as brokers and owners of mailing lists when selling bespoke contact databases to their clients for marketing purposes.

There are 1,045 UK SIC codes currently in existence.

SIC codes are split into 21 SIC groups (sometimes called SIC industry groups or SIC marking groups).

The 21 current UK SIC groups and the number of SIC codes within each SIC group are as follows:

SIC grouping Total
Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing 51
Mining and Quarrying 24
Manufacturing 355
Electric power generation, transmission and distribution 10
Water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation
activities
13
Construction 38
Wholesale and retail trade and repair of motor vehicles
and motorcycles
134
Transport and storage 58
Accommodation and food service activities 19
Information and communication 57
Financial and insurance activities 58
Real estate activities 9
Professional, scientific and technical activities 49
Administrative and support service activities 66
Public administration and defence; compulsory social
security
12
Education 17
Human health activities 19
Arts, entertainment and recreation 24
Other service activities 26
Activities of households as employers of domestic
personnel
4
Activities of extraterritorial organisations and bodies 2

Total

1,045

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) replaced the SIC system in 1997 and the system is jointly used by U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

The NAICS system is not used in the UK and no government agency or mailing list is compliled using these classifications.

Companies may choose a maximum of up to 4 SIC codes when registering at Companies House or submitting their  (the replacement for the old Annual return).

In the UK, to find a company’s SIC number or numbers, you need to log into the Companies House website.

When you’re there, click on “find company information“. Then click “Start Now” and you’ll be invited to search the register.

As an example, enter “More Than Words (Marketing) Limited”. Click on our name (it appears top of the search) and you’ll be taken through to our listing. Scroll down and look for the heading “Nature of business (SIC)”.

Under that heading, you’ll see our one SIC – 73110 Advertising agencies.

You can do the same for any private or public limited company in the UK as well as many limited liability partnerships.

4 digit SIC codes belong to an older version of the SIC code classifications. Companies House stopped using them in October 2011 requiring companies to complete their confirmation statement using 5-digit codes instead.

There are no 4 digit SIC codes remaining in use from this point in the UK.

The first two digits of a UK SIC number indicate to which SIC group a company belongs – for example:

First two digits

Associated SIC group

01-03 Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing
05-09 Mining and Quarrying
10-33 Manufacturing
35 Electric power generation, transmission and distribution
36-39 Water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities
41-43 Construction
45-47 Wholesale and retail trade and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles
49-53 Transport and storage
55-56 Accommodation and food
service activities
58-63 Information and communication
64-66 Financial and insurance
activities
68 Real estate activities
69-75 Professional, scientific and technical activities
77-82 Administrative and support service activities
84 Public administration and defence; compulsory social security
85 Education
86-88 Human health activities
90-93 Arts, entertainment and recreation
94-96 Other service activities
97-98 Activities of households as employers of domestic personnel
99 Activities of extraterritorial organisations and bodies

SIC codes come from the United States having been introduced there in 1937 to help government agencies understand the types of companies which make up their private sector and allow them to monitor over times which sectors are growing or shrinking in size. SIC codes are no longer used in the United States – they were replaced by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).

In the UK, SIC codes were introduced in 1948. In the following decades, the UK version of the SIC code list has been subject to multiple revisions, the last major one of which, SIC (2007), was adopted in January 2008.

In the UK, construction companies’ SIC codes are five digits long with the first two digits being either 41, 42, or 43.

Construction companies whose SIC codes begin with 41 are involved in the construction of buildings.

Construction companies whose SIC codes begin with 42 are involved in civil engineering projects (for example construction of roads, railways, bridges, tunnels, and so on).

Construction companies whose SIC codes begin with 43 are involved in specialist construction activities from plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning installation to demolition to glazing and so on.

In the UK, manufacturing companies’ SIC codes are five digits long with the first two digits being between 10 and 33.

Manufacturing companies whose SIC codes begin with 10 are involved in the manufacture of food products.

Manufacturing companies whose SIC codes begin with 11 are involved in the manufacture of beverages.

Manufacturing companies whose SIC codes begin with 12 are involved in the manufacture of tobacco products.

Manufacturing companies whose SIC codes begin with 13 are involved in the manufacture of textiles.

Manufacturing companies whose SIC codes begin with 14 are involved in the manufacture of wearing apparel (clothing).

Manufacturing companies whose SIC codes begin with 15 are involved in the manufacture of leather and related products.

Manufacturing companies whose SIC codes begin with 16 are involved in the manufacture of wood and of products of wood and cork, except furniture; manufacture of articles of straw and plaiting materials.

Manufacturing companies whose SIC codes begin with 17 are involved in the manufacture of paper and paper products.

Manufacturing companies whose SIC codes begin with 18 are involved in printing and reproduction of recorded media.

Manufacturing companies whose SIC codes begin with 19 are involved in the manufacture of coke and refined petroleum products.

Manufacturing companies whose SIC codes begin with 20 are involved in the manufacture of chemicals and chemical products.

Manufacturing companies whose SIC codes begin with 21 are involved in the manufacture of basic pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical preparations.

Manufacturing companies whose SIC codes begin with 22 are involved in the manufacture of rubber and plastic products.

Manufacturing companies whose SIC codes begin with 23 are involved in the manufacture of other non-metallic mineral products.

Manufacturing companies whose SIC codes begin with 24 are involved in the manufacture of basic metals.

Manufacturing companies whose SIC codes begin with 25 are involved in the manufacture of fabricated metal products, except machinery and equipment.

Manufacturing companies whose SIC codes begin with 26 are involved in the manufacture of computer, electronic and optical products.

Manufacturing companies whose SIC codes begin with 27 are involved in the manufacture of electrical equipment.

Manufacturing companies whose SIC codes begin with 28 are involved in the manufacture of machinery and equipment n.e.c. (general purpose machinery, agricultural and forestry machinery, metal forming machinery and machine tools, and so on).

Manufacturing companies whose SIC codes begin with 29 are involved in the manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers.

Manufacturing companies whose SIC codes begin with 30 are involved in the manufacture of other transport equipment (ships, boats, railways, locomotives, miltary vehciles, motorbikes, mobility vehicles and s on).

Manufacturing companies whose SIC codes begin with 31 are involved in the manufacture of furniture.

Manufacturing companies whose SIC codes begin with 32 are involved in the other manufacturing (specifically the manufacturing of jewellery, bijouterie, musical instruments, sports goods, games and toys, medical and dental instruments and suppliers, brooms, brushes, and other products not covered by another SIC code).

Manufacturing companies whose SIC codes begin with 33 are involved in the repair and installation of machinery and equipment.

There are four UK SIC codes you can choose for restaurants and they are:

  • UK SIC code 56100 covers restaurants and mobile food service activities
  • UK SIC code 56101 covers licensed restaurants
  • UK SIC code 56102 covers unlicensed restaurants and cafes
  • UK SIC code 56103 covers take away food shops and mobile food stands

The SIC codes most likely to be used for companies involved in buy to let are:

  • UK SIC code 68100 covers buying and selling of own real estate
  • UK SIC code 68209 covers other letting and operating of own or leased real estate
  • UK SIC code 68320 covers management of real estate
  • UK SIC code 68201 covers renting and operating of housing association real estate

The SIC codes most likely to be used for SPVs involved in buy to let are:

  • UK SIC code 68100 covers buying and selling of own real estate
  • UK SIC code 68209 covers other letting and operating of own or leased real estate
  • UK SIC code 68320 covers management of real estate
  • UK SIC code 68201 covers renting and operating of housing association real estate

In the UK, healthcare sector companies’ SIC codes are five digits long with the first two digits being between 86 and 88.

Healthcare sector companies whose SIC codes begin with 86 include hospitals, medical and dental practices, and other human health activities.

Healthcare sector companies whose SIC codes begin with 87 include residential nursing care activities for elderly or disable service users (including those with learning disabilities, mental health and substance abuse).

Healthcare sector companies whose SIC codes begin with 88 include social work activities where accomodation is not provided to service users.

We can send you a link for a SIC codes download in Excel. To request a copy, please click here to email us.

For each record derived from our SIC code list, you receive the following information:

  • title for salutations (for example, Mr, Mrs, Dr, Miss, and Sir)
  • name (separate fields for first and last name)
  • job title (the job title reported by the contact)
  • company name
  • line of business
  • legal status
  • postal address including 2 lines for the address, town, county, and postcode
  • telephone number (main switchboard number)
  • email address (please note that we have email addresses for around 35% of the entries on our UK B2B database)

We also hold the following information – the number in brackets at the end of each field denote the percentage of records we have information on:

  • number of employees (90%)
  • number of branches (90%)
  • type of premises (70%)
  • website address (75%)
  • level of turnover (banded) (60%)
  • year the original company began trading (40%)
  • company registration number (8%)
  • incorporation date (8%)
  • net worth (7%)
  • profit or loss making? (2%)
  • %age increase or decrease in profitability YOY (2%)
  • turnover increase or decrease YOY (shown in pound sterling) (2%)

If a particular field is a must-have for your marketing database, please let your account manager know when you get in touch.

In addition to selling contact information for senior decision makers in British businesses, we also sell a:

When you get in touch, let us know the type of buyer you wish to target within the specific companies you wish to target and we’ll come back with a count and a quote for you.

Get straight to the decision makers you need to contact

To speak to an account manager, please call on 0330 010 8300, click here to email us, or fill in the form below and we’ll get back in touch with you as soon as possible.