January 10, 2020

UPC & EAN at a glance – a brief

There is only one producer globally for UPC code is GS1 stands for Global Standards 1 Which is a nonprofit organization that has set the global standard for supply chain barcoding.

GTIN – An Overview

GTIN is the number that is used to identify unique products. Each product has assigned a unique GTIN number. The rule of assigning GTIN is that it must be a unique number globally.

A GTIN is formed by combining a GS1 US-issued Company Prefix number with a unique product number, plus a check digit which indicates that GTIN is created correctly. A GTIN, along with a UPC barcode, is used anywhere in the world.

GTINs can be differentiate into two types of barcodes.
1.UPCs (Unique Product Code) 

2. EANs (European Article Number)

UPC Codes?

The UPC code was the original number format for the product. When supply demand in Europe, Asia, and Australia are increased there was a need to differentiate each seller by locality. The GS1 then began allocating a specific number for prefixes to differentiate GS1 member organizations.

There are two main types of UPC codes, UPC-E and UPC-A

UPC-AUPC-E
Symbol ID: ]EOSymbol ID: ]EO
Capacity: 12 NumericCapacity: 12 Numeric 0 Suppressed
OmnidirectionalOmnidirectional
Support GTIN 12Support GTIN 12
Does not support attributesDoes not support attributes

UPC-A and UPC-E are almost the same, but UPC-E does not contain 0s. That means you will not see the 0’s within the barcode, it is only within the corresponding GTIN number.

UPC barcodes are the primary barcode that is used in the US and Canada. Countries outside the US and Canada are using EAN Codes.

EAN Codes?

EAN stands for European Article Numbers also known as International Article Numbers which are issued by GS1 barcodes also include Company Prefixes at the beginning of the numeric GTIN.

There are two types of EANs popular among Amazon sellers, EAN-13 and EAN-8, which encode a GTIN-13 and GTIN-8, respectively.

EAN-13EAN-8
Symbol ID: ]E0Symbol ID: ]E4
Capacity: 13 NumericCapacity: 8 Numeric
OmnidirectionalOmnidirectional
Support GTIN 13Support GTIN 8
Does not support attributesDoes not support attributes

Similar to UPCs, the type of EAN depends on different types like the product category, and product distribution.

Note that, Amazon will remove your product listing if they find that your UPC codes don’t match the to the GS1 database. 

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