What is Global Product Classification (GPC)?

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What is GPC?

To ensure products are classified correctly and uniformly, GDSN uses GS1 Global Product Classification (GPC), a system that gives buyers and sellers a common language for grouping products in the same way, everywhere in the world.

This improves the Global Data Synchronisation Network's data accuracy and integrity, speeds up the supply chain's ability to react to consumer needs, and contributes to breaking down language barriers. It also facilitates the reporting process across product silos.

The official (normative) GPC schema and GPC Browser information is published in Oxford English. Both the schema and the browser information are translated to other languages.

The foundation of GPC is called a "Brick;" GPC bricks define categories of similar products. Using the GPC brick as part of GDSN ensures the correct recognition of the product category across the extended supply chain, from seller to buyer. Bricks can be further characterised by Brick Attributes.

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Using GPC hierarchy to find the Brick

One GTIN, One Brick

A Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) can only be assigned to one Brick.

Using attributes

Bricks can be further characterised using attributes where required.

Category scope

GPC is already available for a wide range of categories - and is growing all the time.

As of July 2005, the GS1 GPC standard includes:

  • Food, Beverage, Tobacco
  • Home Care, Health Care (including over the counter part of (Health Care), Pet Care, Pet Food, Baby Care, Beauty Personal Care and Hygiene
  • Clothing, Footwear, Personal Accessories
  • Cross Category
  • General Merchandise (Furniture & Furnishing, Kitchen Merchandise, Musical Instruments, Toys & Games, Stationery, Audio & Visual, Communication, Computing, Printed & Reference Materials, Sports & Well being, Arts & Crafts, Outdoor & Camping)
  • Hardlines
    • DIY (Lawn & Garden Supplies; Building Materials, Hardware; Tools & Equipment Hand; Safety & Storage; Electrical Supplies; Plumbing; Heat,Ventilation,Air Conditioning)
    • Automotive Aftermarket
    • Home Appliances


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What is the role of GPC in GDSN?

GPC gives buyers and sellers a common language to group products the same way globally to ensure effective data synchronisation in the Global Data Synchronisation Network (GDSN). GPC enables the following processes:

  • Item Registration
  • Subscription
  • Validation
  • Search
  • Publication/Subscription Match

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How does GPC fit with other GS1 standards?

GPC is a key part of the GS1 standards package. The table below shows how GPC fits with other GS1 standards and processes.

GS1 Standard Support
Process Standard GDSN Certification GDSN Processes What are the GDSN Processes? Publications, Validation, Subscription, Search etc.
(Global Product Classification)
Category Identification Key Brick
(One GTIN = One Brick)
What product category does my product belong to? Vitamins & Minerals
Category Descriptors Brick Attributes and Brick Attribute Values How do I describe my product category Consumer Lifestage=Adult
Target Gender=Unisex
Administration Method=Oral
Vitamins & Minerals=Combination
Category Hierarchy Segment / Family / Class What are the higher level elements my category belongs to?

Family=Health Enhancement;
Class= Vitamins, Minerals & Nutritional Supplements

Item Identification Keys Unique Trade Item Identification GLN
(Global Location Number)
Who am I? "Vitamin International" 321098765432C
(Global Trade Item Number)
What do I sell? "Vitamin" 1234567890123C
(Target Market)
Where do I sell it? Europe
Item Attributes Trade Item descriptive fields Brand Name What is the Brand Name of my product? Best Vitamin
Net Weight What is the net weight of my product? 200g
Message Standards   XML / EANCOM How do I distribute my catalogue data? XML


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Under the leadership of the user community, GS1 launched an initiative to align GPC with another classification system managed by GS1, the United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC). UNSPSC is a global, multi-sector classification system supporting primarily spend analysis and procurement. Download an update on GPC-UNSPSC alignment.

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