It was introduced for use on small packages where an EAN-13 barcode would be too large; for example on cigarettes, pencils (though it is rarely used for pencils), and chewing gum packets. It is encoded identically to the 12 digits of the UPC-A barcode, except that it has 4 (rather than 6) digits in each of the left and right halves.
EAN-8 barcodes may be used to encode GTIN-8s which are another set of product identifiers from the GS1 System. It begins with a 2- or 3-digit GS1 prefix (which is assigned to each national GS1 authority) 5- or 4-digit item reference element depending on the length of the GS1 prefix), and a checksum digit.
EAN-8 codes are common throughout the world, and companies may also use them to encode RCN-8s (8-digit Restricted Circulation Numbers) used to identify own-brand products sold only in their stores. These are formatted as 02xx xxxx, 04xx xxxx or 2xxx xxxx.