Amazon only allows users to select 30 items at a time from the dropdown list and add them to the cart. Why not let the users type the number themselves in case they want to buy more than 30? Is there a reason for this number?

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  • 4
    Probably they thought that using a dropdown list instead of an input field would be easier on the user since the user could specify the amount only using their mouse. And they have to stop somewhere and have probably assumed that no one ever will buy more than 30 items. Or maybe there's some other aspect that I can' t think of. Aug 7, 2012 at 7:24
  • 1
    It can be that over 30, you're unlikely to use consumer shops (as opposed to retail or how it's called which sells to merchants in large quantities). Also it could be, that they see that purchases over 25 are less than 0.01% of all purchases or similar.
    – Aadaam
    Aug 7, 2012 at 11:40
  • It's likely a space limitation issue with the dropdown, and I assume they researched and found ~99% of people never go over 30 items. In fact I'd bet ~99% of people don't order more than 6
    – Ben Brocka
    Aug 7, 2012 at 12:05
  • all of the above are part of it. so this simple number becomes part of a slick and easy interface to get dollars in without error messages turning user off buying. user testing with eye tracking was also used to design the ux as best can be.
    – Chris
    Aug 7, 2012 at 14:05
  • The mobile or app version of Amazon provide text quantity for entry. That would lead me to assume that it's not a deliberate restriction on qty, it's a deliberate decision for desktop users. I'd go with @AndroidHustle suggestion - keeping the user flow with the mouse.
    – JonW
    Aug 7, 2012 at 18:12

3 Answers 3


I can't see that amazon would limit the number of items for a reason as easily avoided as having a long drop down - a simple UI change would fix this. I think the reason is probably more rooted in business logic. I can't comment internationally but in the UK most retailers limit the amount of a single item a user can buy. An old client of mine (hotel chain) when having supply issues tried to buy supplies from a supermarket and were told they couldn't buy the quantity they required.

  • 4
    Amazon's product selection is too varied for this to be likely; every product line would have different limits. Further, the "edit cart" menu uses a textbox which supports numbers higher than 30. This is almost definitely a UX decision, not a business decision.
    – Brian
    Aug 7, 2012 at 17:33
  • Other products are different on amazon too. Books have a limit of 5 qty on product selection for instance.
    – JonW
    Aug 7, 2012 at 18:14
  • But what about bolts or pens. 30 becomes a low number. Buying 60 pens for your office is hardly a big enough order worthy of wholesale discounting.
    – JustinP
    Dec 4, 2012 at 3:25
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    This is demonstrably untrue, since you can change the quantity to 999 once in the basket.
    – user31143
    Nov 5, 2015 at 5:55
  • It might be very likely be tied to business logic and data analysis. Amazon track a lot of things. If they know a very very low percentage every buys more than 5 items at a time, the might just keep the limit at 30. One can always do multiple purchases to achieve the same goal. Nov 5, 2015 at 8:14

While why is X designed like this? is always somewhat speculative, I think it is probably a pretty simple answer in this case:

The drop down is the most convenient way to select quantity, but it requires a limit to be workable.

Adding more than 30 items is extremely rare. This is not something that the average shopper is going to do. And for items where you might want a large quantity, usually one can find a bulk package on Amazon rather than adding many of the individual item.

Putting a work-around on the product page would probably increase support problems. A free text entry box might lead to people accidentally buying large quantities and then needing to cancel their order, among other problems.

It is, however, possible to change the quantity to more than 30 in the shopping cart, which is probably good enough to handle those rare cases where someone wants to buy a large quantity.

  • Wouldn't it be more intuitive to show 1-10 then "..." as the 11th item? Select it and a pop-up could ask "How many do you want?" allowing the user to enter any number more than 10. Thereby keeping the quantity list short, using a list to make quick selection, but also allowing free entry of any quantity. It also avoids the perceived limit of 30 (a limit that doesn't really exist, since you can update the number in the shopping cart anyway).
    – ADTC
    Oct 14, 2016 at 8:07

The drop down menu becomes too long if more than 30. For individual consumers, the drop down list eases the purchasing process and prevents them from accidentally entering larger quantities. But bad news for sellers and retailers using the 999 trick to check the seller quantity, though they could still manually input 999 before checking out, I'd rather use chrome extension tools like Amzpecty to do the work for me.

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