For an e-commerce site, in the header you have the cart icon, with the quantity of items in the cart displayed.

What is the best number to show as the quantity? Should you show the number of unique items, or the number of total items.

e.g. if you have 2 x hats, and 3 x shoes in a cart, should you show the items as 2 (hats + shoes), or 5 (2 hats + 3 shoes)?

1 Answer 1


The cart should mimic the physical world. In the physical world, 2 hats and 3 shoes are 5 items in total. Therefore the cart icon should show as 5.

If those hats come as a set of 2, they count as 1 item.

  • 1
    What do you base that on?
    – Source
    Commented Oct 11, 2020 at 22:45

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