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The Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS®)

Introducing Communication Services Sector in 2018

The last several years have seen rapid evolution in the way people communicate, access entertainment content and other information. This evolution is a result of the integration between telecommunications, media, and internet companies. Companies have moved further in this direction by consolidating through mergers and acquisitions and many now offer bundled services such as cable, internet services, and telephone services. Some of these companies also create interactive entertainment content and aggregate information that is delivered through multiple platforms such as cable and internet, as well as accessed on cellular phones.

Summary of changes

  • Telecommunication Services Sector renamed to Communication Services Sector
    • The Telecommunication Services Sector is renamed to Communication Services to include companies that facilitate communication and offer related content through various media. It includes:
    • Media companies moved from Consumer Discretionary to Communication Services
    • Internet services companies moved from Information Technology to Communication Services
  • Information Technology Sector
    • The Internet Software & Services Industry and Sub-Industry is discontinued
    • A new Sub-Industry is created under the IT Services Industry called Internet Services & Infrastructure
    • The Application Software Sub-Industry is updated to include cloud-based software companies
  • Consumer Discretionary Sector
    • The Media Industry Group is moved out of Consumer Discretionary and into the Communication Services Sector, and renamed Media & Entertainment
    • E-commerce companies are moved from Information Technology to Consumer Discretionary

These changes were implemented after the close of business (ET) on Friday, September 28, 2018 in GICS Direct and in the MSCI Equity Indexes in one step as part of the November 2018 Semi-Annual Index Review.

Explore the news GICS structure by clicking below on the Interactive tool:

What we offer
GICS pyramid
  • In 1999, MSCI and S&P Dow Jones Indices developed the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS), seeking to offer an efficient investment tool to capture the breadth, depth and evolution of industry sectors.
  • GICS is a four-tiered, hierarchical industry classification system.
  • Companies are classified quantitatively and qualitatively. Each company is assigned a single GICS classification at the Sub-Industry level according to its principal business activity. MSCI and S&P Dow Jones Indices use revenues as a key factor in determining a firm’s principal business activity.
  • Earnings and market perception, however, are also recognized as important and relevant information for classification purposes, and are taken into account during the annual review process.

Find out more about the GICS structure & sub-industry definitions.

Why we’re a better choice
  • GICS is a common global classification standard used by thousands of market participants across all major groups involved in the investment process: asset managers, brokers (institutional and retail), custodians, consultants, research teams and stock exchanges
  • Standardized industry definitions are applied to companies globally
  • The structure precisely reflects the current state of industries in global investment markets
  • The classification consists of four levels of analysis, ranging from the most general sector to the most specialized sub-industry
  • Annual reviews are conducted by MSCI and S&P Dow Jones Indices to ensure that the structure remains fully representative of today’s global markets
How our offering helps clients

GICS enables clients to:

  • Capture and assess the impact of global, regional or local industry trends on a portfolio
  • Compare and report on industry sector exposures versus peers or benchmarks
  • Pinpoint industry investment opportunities across developed and emerging markets
  • Analyze sector and industry contributions to portfolio performance
  • Construct consistently defined global or regional sector-based and sector rotation strategies

Modern index strategy

MSCI indexing offers a modern, seamless and fully integrated approach to measuring the full equity opportunity set, with no gaps or overlaps.

GICS Sector Definitions

Covering Energy, Materials, Industrials, Consumer Discretionary, Consumer Staples, Health Care, Financials, Information Technology, Real Estate, Communication Services and Utilities Sector.


Learn why GICS is considered an industry standard.

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