What is a UPC-A?

The UPC-A barcode was created by IBM in 1971. Nowadays it’s found on virtually every consumer goods packaging. This includes on the shelves of your local supermarket, as well as books, magazines, and newspapers.

UPC-A encodes 11 digits of product information data along with a trailing check digit, for a total of 12 digits of barcode data. The 11 product digits are further divided into three logical categories.

  • The first digit represents the information regarding the type of the product.
  • The next five digits contain information about the manufacturer of the product.
  • The last five digits contain information about the particular product being encoded.

An example of a typical UPC-A barcode is:


Where is a UPC-A used?

The UPC-A barcode is widely used all over the world for scanning of trade items at the point of sale.


  • Retail
  • Warehousing