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Should I Buy UPC or EAN Barcodes?

The quick answer is you should buy the type whether that’s a UPC or EAN barcodes that is mainly used in the country that you’re based and selling from. If you are in the US or Canada; strictly sell in these countries then the barcodes you should look at buy UPC codes. If you’re selling in Europe then you should purchase EAN barcodes. However, if your product is sold worldwide across multiple countries then you should be able to use the same barcode number worldwide. The barcode type that is mainly used across the world is EAN barcodes. So if you envision your product being sold outside of the US then you should look to purchase EAN barcode numbers. 

If you are located both outside the US and EU then again the best barcode to buy is the EAN. Which Barcode Market is a seller of. 

That might not have seemed like a quick answer but here is the detailed answer. It’s not out of the ordinary that the terms EAN and UPC are quite confusing to comprehend right now. However, what the definition is & the difference between UPC and EAN is simple to understand.

UPC barcode numbers are primarily used in the US and Canada. A UPC code is a 12 digit number, which is unique to a product that you’re selling. Which permits it to be scanned and read in pretty much any known retail company.

The EAN barcode number is an expanded version of the UPC which has 13 digits. The first 2 or 3 numbers are the country code of the country it’s going to be predominantly used in. The following 9 or 10 characters are data numbers and the last number is the checksum. If you’re not in the US, the 13-digit EAN barcode number is the type most commonly found in the world. These can consist of the UK, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Australasia etc.

EAN codes and UPC codes can both be used with the majority of scanning systems. For this reason they can usually be used in any country:

  1. a) EAN-13 barcodes can be used with the majority scanning systems across the USA. Which means that products that are imported. These are labelled with EAN-13 barcode numbers aren’t required to be re-labeled with a different barcode to be sold in the USA.
  2. b) UPC codes can also be used with all EAN-13 scanning databases. This is because the country code for the US is 00 and the first digit that is missing is known to be zero. Which means, if you have a UPC code on the product you’re selling. You would be able to use that barcode in any country across the world.

In conclusion, both UPC or EAN barcodes can be used anywhere in the world. But if you buy EAN barcodes then you can be rest assured that these are the barcodes that are the most popular type. EAN numbers are also the ones being used worldwide by companies, retailers, brands and sellers around the world. This includes Amazon, eBay and many other online marketplaces.  


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