June 16, 2024


Change is inevitable, especially in the dynamic world of finance and investments. In 2018, the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) underwent significant sector changes that aimed to better reflect the evolving market trends and the emergence of new industries. This article delves into the GICS sector changes for 2018, providing insights into the rationale behind these shifts and their implications for investors.

The Evolution of GICS

The GICS is a widely recognized classification system that categorizes companies into sectors and industries based on their primary business activities. It provides a standardized framework for investors, analysts, and researchers to understand and compare companies within the same industry.

Historically, the GICS has consisted of ten sectors: Consumer Discretionary, Consumer Staples, Energy, Financials, Health Care, Industrials, Information Technology, Materials, Real Estate, and Utilities.

1. The Rise of Communication Services

One of the most significant changes in 2018 was the introduction of the Communication Services sector. This sector replaced the Telecommunication Services sector and expanded its scope to include companies from the Information Technology and Consumer Discretionary sectors. The goal was to better capture the evolving landscape of communication and media industries.

With this change, technology giants like Google, Facebook, and Netflix were reclassified into the Communication Services sector. This shift highlighted the increasing convergence between technology, media, and communication.

2. The Restructuring of Information Technology

The Information Technology sector also underwent significant restructuring. Previously, it primarily comprised hardware, software, and semiconductor companies. However, with the rise of technology-driven businesses in other sectors, the GICS expanded the sector’s scope to include internet-based companies.

This change led to the reclassification of e-commerce giants like Amazon and Alibaba into the Information Technology sector, acknowledging the critical role they play in shaping the digital landscape.

3. The Realignment of Consumer Discretionary

Consumer Discretionary, which traditionally encompassed retail and automotive industries, saw a realignment as well. Companies in the media and internet services sectors were moved to the new Communication Services sector, while companies involved in e-commerce, such as Amazon and eBay, were reclassified as part of the Information Technology sector.

This shift reflects the changing trends in consumer behavior, where online shopping and digital services have become increasingly prevalent.

4. The Impact on Investors

These GICS sector changes have significant implications for investors and fund managers. The reclassification of certain companies may alter the composition and balance of their portfolios.

For example, investors who held Telecommunication Services sector funds might have had to realign their investments to include the new Communication Services sector. Similarly, those who focused on traditional retail companies within the Consumer Discretionary sector may need to consider the impact of e-commerce companies now classified under the Information Technology sector.


The GICS sector changes in 2018 reflect the dynamic nature of the global market. They aim to provide a more accurate representation of the industries shaping the modern economy. For investors, understanding these changes is crucial in adapting their investment strategies to the evolving landscape. Keeping a close eye on GICS sector changes can help investors stay ahead of the curve and make informed decisions in an ever-changing market.