Tag Archives: UPC vs SKU

What is the difference between UPC and SKU?

Are UPC (Universal Product Code) the same as SKU (Stock Keeping Unit)? No, they are not. Both codes are used to identify products, but in a different way.

UPC codes are standarized by an international association called GS1 who assigns each manufacturer a unique prefix for using in their UPC barcodes; then the rest of the UPC code is chosen by the manufacturer who ensures each product variation receives a unique code.
The UPC is affixed to the product all through its life cycle, starting from manufacturing till it’s in the customer’s hands.
On the other hand, SKUs may be numeric or alphanumerical and are assigned by each company for stock keeping purposes and internal operations.  This means that it is the company, store or retailer who decides the format of the SKU code depending on its needs. SKUs must be unique only inside the same company.  A product will have a different SKU on two different companies.

In conclusion, UPC are for universal use and SKUs are for internal use.



External related links:

Difference between UPC and SKU

Universal Product Code (UPC)

Stock Keeping Unit (SKU)