What type of barcode is used for products in India?

EAN-13 is the primary barcode format used for retail products in India. This is a 13 digit barcode used on all retail products except for two categories:

1. Books and Magazines which require ISBN and ISSN codes.
2. Pharmaceuticals which require Pharmacodes.

The meaning of the EAN is “International Article Number”, previously known as “European Article Number“.  EAN-13 is a superset of the 12 digit UPC-A (Universal Product Code). UPC-A is the primarily format used in the United States. Virtually all retail barcode scanners worldwide can read both EAN-13 and UPC-A formats.

Other barcodes used in India are EAN-8 and UPC-E.  These are a shorter 8 digit versions of EAN-13 and UPC-A that are used for smaller product packaging.

What is a GTIN?

GTIN simply means Global Trade Item Number and can refer to a number of barcode types. For example an EAN-13, UPC-A, EAN-8 or ITF-14 are all considered to be GTINs.

GTINs are globally unique numbers that are assigned to retail products or logistics units used in warehousing. When a barcode is assigned to a product it can be tracked from the warehouse, through wholesalers and eventually scanned at POS in retail outlets. The barcoding system allows companies to keep track of their stock as it moves through the supply chain.

GTINs such as EAN-13 or UPC-A are necessary for stocking a product with almost all physical and online retailers. The two most widely accepted formats of retail barcodes in the world are the EAN-13 (International Article Number) and UPC-A (Universal Product Code).

Why would I require a barcode for my products?

In today’s retail market, barcodes are a must for any business intending to stock their product in a physical store, or with online retailers such as Amazon and Flipkart.  Retail outlets and online retailers use barcoding systems to manage pricing, sales figures, inventory levels, to track their stock through warehouses, and at POS. Having a globally unique barcode placed on your product is necessary to ensure your product will be ready for the marketplace.

How many barcodes should I get?

The amount of barcodes you require depends on the amount of unique products and variations you have in your inventory. For example, if you have a clothing line, you would require a unique barcode for each clothing type, style, size and colour variation. So a shirt that comes in 3 sizes and three different colours would require a total of 9 unique EAN-13 barcodes.

How does barcoding work?

Most retailers will require you to complete a product information form linking your product and company details to the barcode number each time you introduce a new product. The retailer will transfer this information into their sales & inventory system allowing your product to be scanned at POS. Each new retailer will require you to go through this process when you introduce your product to their store.

Amazon, Flipkart and other online retailers require you to enter a unique barcode number into the product ID field when listing your product online. Amazon’s website guides you through their registration process and entering your products barcode number is usually the first step. This is how Amazon ensures your product or GTIN is not already listed.

Are barcodes issued by India Barcodes accepted by all Indian retail outlets and stores?

The Uniform Code Council (UCC now known as GS1) originally issued all of the stock that India Barcodes sells.  We therefore guarantee that the codes are genuine and unique. Our customers have success stocking their products in retail outlets in India and worldwide as well as e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and FlipKart with few exceptions. However, we strongly suggest that you make contact with the retailers you are looking to supply with your products first, to check about their individual barcode guidelines before making any barcode purchases.
See Also: Global Barcode Acceptance & Supplier Guidelines

Are the barcodes supplied by India Barcodes accepted on Amazon?

Many sellers on Amazon continue to use re-seller barcodes like ours to successfully list their products on Amazon.in, Amazon.com and other tlds.  However we do not guarantee our barcodes will always be accepted on Amazon.  This is due to Amazon using GS1’s GEPIR as one potential method to verify brand ownership.  For further information and known limitations using GTINs on Amazon see our Using Barcodes on Amazon page.  

Why purchase from India Barcodes?

When purchasing barcodes you have a few options, basically you can go directly to GS1 who charge up front membership fees as well as annual subscription costs which begin at around 40,000 INR per year (their cheapest rate). After this, GS1 will supply you with a prefix only, it is up to you to contract a third party business to generate your product codes and barcode images. This process can expensive for most small businesses. If you have purchased barcodes from GS1 and require image generation India Barcodes can generate the corresponding images in any format required complete with the OCRB human readable font.

The UCC (now known as GS1) originally issued all of our stock. We guarantee that the codes we supply are globally unique and are yours for life with no need for annual renewal fees. You will also notice some other competing businesses online. The level of service, customer support, quality of image generation and price varies between them all.

Will a barcode from India Barcodes be guaranteed unique?

Yes, this is the guarantee that drives our business. The UCC (now known as GS1) originally issued all of our barcodes. The codes we supply have never been assigned to a product. We run thorough checks on all of our stock before we sell it to our customers, ensuring that the barcodes are genuine and globally unique. Each package comes with a certificate to guarantee the barcodes’ authenticity and you as their designated owner, for life.

Can a barcode store information?

Barcodes themselves do not hold information, they are simply a unique sequence of numbers encoded into an image represented by vertical black and white bars. The barcode number is simply used to quickly retrieve information stored a retailer’s database. This unique number is assigned to your product and recorded in a retailer’s sales/inventory system. Basically, the barcode is a unique number and has no informational value until the product is assigned manually via yourself or the retailer store. This is the same for barcodes purchased from any source (including GS1 India).

Once I have purchased my barcode from India Barcodes, can it possibly expire?

Never. When purchasing barcodes from India Barcodes, they are yours for life and will never expire. This is because the numbers we supply originate with the Uniform Code Council (now GS1) and pre-date the introduction of GS1’s subscription model. Once purchased you are the legal owner of the barcode for life.

Will I have to pay an annual fee if I buy from India Barcodes?

India Barcodes have acquired large numbers of GTINs and only charge you a one off fee. You will always retain ownership of barcodes you have purchased and they never accrue annual charges or fees in any form.

If you purchase GTINs from the Indian branch of GS1 you’re agreeing to payment of annual subscription fees. So if you only intend to acquire codes for just a few products the associated expenses when registering barcodes with GS1 India will grow over time.

The only organisation that charges an annual fee for barcodes is GS1 India. We advise caution if you come across a barcode retailer other than GS1 that tries to charge a subscription fee.

Do you provide barcodes starting with “890”?

The EAN-13 number range we supply is 060 – 089.  This prefix range indicates issuance by the Uniform Code Council (now GS1-US).  These numbers are from the same system as GS1 numbers but pre-date GS1’s subscription model.  They’re suitable for products in India and worldwide and do not require any annual fees.  This is a cost effective way to get authentic globally unique barcodes for your products without having to pay annual GS1 subscriber fees. We have thousands of Indian businesses who are using our barcode numbers since 2013 without any issues.

EAN-13 numbers starting with 890 are issued by the Indian branch of GS1 on a subscription basis (meaning the numbers are rented, not owned). Each GS1 global branch has a country code.  Essentially this is to avoid duplicate numbers between global member organizations and has nothing to do with a product or company’s place of origin.   The idea that a barcode’s country code shows where a product is made is false stated even in GS1’s own documentation.  It has been thoroughly debunked. See this Republic World article for clarification.

Fact Check: Does An 890 Prefix In A Bar Code Indicate That The Product Is Made In India?

The only way to obtain 890 numbers legally is though direct GS1 India membership.  While very large companies can afford it this can be costly for small businesses trying to enter the market.  We’re an alternative to GS1 membership offering barcodes for a low, once off cost with no annual fees.

Warning! – Any company or website other than GS1 India offering to sell you an 890 prefixed code does not have authorization from GS1 to do so. Most examples of this are usually using made up numbers that risk collision with GS1 issued numbers. Using unauthorized GS1 codes carries a high risk to any business who uses them.  Please see our support article for further reading on this subject.

Can India Barcodes supply me with a company prefix?

Our packages of 10, 100 and 1000 barcodes include a globally unique company prefix.  

10 packages include an 11 digit company prefix with 0 – 9 product allocation range.
100 packages include a 10 digit company prefix with 00 – 99 product allocation range.
1000 packages include a 9 digit company prefix with 000 – 999 product allocation range.

All other package quantities do not support this feature but every barcode we supply is globally unique. 

Can I recycle a barcode when a product line is discontinued?

Due to the increasing use and popularity of the online marketplace barcode re-use is becoming impossible. We strongly suggest that you do not re-use a barcode, even if your product line has been discontinued and the product is no longer in circulation. GS1 recently changed their barcode re-use policy to reflect this. To read more please go to gs1us.org/what-we-do/standards/gtin-no-reuse

I received my barcodes. What is the next step?

Our barcode packages are ready for assignment to your products right away.  Once your purchase is completed you’ll receive your barcode package in a zip folder.   This folder contains the numbers and high resolution barcode images.  You can begin incorporating the barcode images into your product packaging artwork or printed onto labels immediately.    At this stage you also can resize your barcode image if needed.  The included EPS file is best format for resizing.  It is also important to consider barcode size specifications when resizing to ensure your barcode will scan.

See also: Instructions to open the zip folder.

Will India Barcodes register my product or company information on the GEPIR database or Verified by GS1?

No barcode re-seller can register data on GS1’s GEPIR/Verified by GS1. GS1 no longer manages pre-subscription model barcodes and therefore do not update their database to reflect the current legal owners of these codes. A common misconception is that the GEPIR database links barcode numbers to products, however this is incorrect. The GEPIR database only gives information about a company and plays no role in linking your product to your barcode in stores.

India barcodes manages the distribution of our stock to ensure that the codes are never issued in duplicate. We also run checks to ensure our numbers have never been misused or assigned to any products previously. You as the customer also have a responsibility to keep track of your codes to ensure that they are not assigned to multiple products.

We suggest listing your product details for free on some of the following online databases. Linking your product details to their codes on these databases can help increase your brand awareness online. This is a cost free alternative to GEPIR that also holds product data.


Can barcodes purchased with India Barcodes be registered on DataKart/SMART?

No. The only way for your product data to appear on Datakart or the SMART Consumer App is by signing up to GS1 India directly and paying an annual subscription.

As of October 2021 GS1’s Smart Consumer App has 100,000 + installs. We therefore instead recommenced Barcode Scanner Android App by ZXing Team. With 100 Million + installs it is the most popular Barcode Scanning application for Android devices.

How can I obtain barcodes for my products?

With India Barcodes it’s an easy and straightforward process. To obtain genuine, unique GTINs for your products, simply go to our purchase barcodes page and choose the quantity of barcodes that suits your needs. Or if the number of codes required isn’t listed, contact one of our friendly staff at [email protected] to arrange a special order just for you.

Need more information?

Visit our detailed support pages or submit a question via our contact page.