Why Amazon’s Product Categories Are So Confusing

How many Amazon FBA product categories can you sell in?
Seth Kniep
Oct 3, 2022
Build Your Amazon Product
Amazon FBA features dozens of product categories that sellers can sell in and shoppers can shop from. Each of those categories is in turn broken down into several subcategories, some of which have their own subcategories—it’s basically product category-ception!

But if you look at Seller Central you might notice there’s fewer product categories to list in than if you go to Amazon.com and look at the product categories to shop from. Why is this niche detail—number of Amazon product categories—so confusing?

Today, I’m going to break down Amazon’s product categories and make sense of the mystery that is the total, definitive number of Amazon product categories.

Seller Central Product Categories

When you create your Amazon FBA’s product listing in Seller Central, the first thing you must do is select your product’s category, or at least that’s the case if you sell private label, which we teach in our membership

From a quick count, there’s 26 categories

26 Product Categories in Seller Central

That’s 26 parent categories from which you can begin your journey from broadest to nichest as you progressively choose more and more niche subcategories and ultimately land on your final, less competitive destination subcategory. And by niching down as far as you can within a particular category, you have the option to dominate that smaller sector that still sees consumer demand.

As for those padlocks on a few (sub)categories?

Gated Amazon Product Categories

Those are gated categories—sellers who wish to sell in those categories must apply to do so. These (sub)categories typically feature restricted products and/or products that require specific certifications

A key note for Amazon product categories is that they differ between sellers and shoppers. 

Amazon Shopper Product Categories

When you visit Amazon.com and type a keyword into the search bar, you can either just hit enter/click search, or you can select a category to search that keyword in from a long dropdown list to the left.

The length of that list: 53 product categories

53 Amazon Shopper Product Categories

So why does Amazon have so many more shopper categories than it does for sellers? 

Everything Amazon does, including creating and grouping product categories, revolves around the shopper’s experience.

That means grouping certain products where shoppers might want to browse them together. The point is to make shopper navigation as seamless as possible and to eliminate category overlap. For instance, Amazon shoppers can opt to search within the Health, Household, and Baby Care product category: shoppers would and will easily shop those three options together. 

In Seller Central, sellers see a Health & Household category. What happened to Baby?

As it turns out many subcategories within the Baby category are gated and thus require special permissions to sell in. So Baby Products is its own seller category.

Additionally, there are some categories, such as Gift Cards and Amazon-specific services (like Amazon Pharmacy) and Whole Foods options, that third party sellers (sellers like you and I) cannot sell in. Amazon doesn’t waste space or your eyesight just to give you an impossible option in Seller Central. 

There’s also Amazon Explore in which you can offer guided audio-video tutorials and tours to shoppers. You can sell it in it, although Amazon doesn't list it as a category in Seller Central.

When it comes to Amazon, you have two options: you can be one of the hundreds of millions of shoppers buying products on the platform, or you can become one of the many sellers making money off of those products. If you’re looking for a way to create financial independence, make money for yourself on your own time, and start supporting your goals (as opposed to your boss’s), join the ranks of us who have discovered that Amazon FBA is a passive income machine that can help you create margin to do the things you love with the people you love. Let us help you get started today.

Amazon’s Overview of Product Categories

If you search “Amazon product categories”, you will get one of Seller Central’s many help articles in response. 

Per that page, the number of product categories is…33!

33 Product Categories on Amazon Seller Central's Help Article

But this page is for Amazon sellers and Seller Central says 26. What’s up with that? 

This particular help page includes categories that pertain solely to Amazon, that third party sellers can’t sell in. But those categories are still technically seller product categories, it just so happens to include Amazon as a seller, which they are.

You didn’t really think Amazon would let third party sellers like us sell Kindles and Alexa’s, did you?

Alexa's Logo Includes Amazon's Logo

It’s even got the Amazon arrow logo—of course that’s an Amazon specific product!

The good news is if you can’t sell in some of those categories you won’t have to pay their sometimes hefty referral fees as you make sales.

Amazon Referral Fees Categories

Referral fees are the fees you pay to Amazon for the privilege of selling on their platform. Essentially, referral fees ensure that Amazon sees some return in allowing you to sell to their literal hundreds of millions of shoppers.

Referral fees vary by, and within, product categories, however they are most commonly 15% of each sale. 

And if you had a question about Amazon’s referral fees, you might stumble upon this seller central help article that explains how they work…and what they are by product category. 

36 Product Categories by Referral Fees

From the referral fees list, there are 36 categories.

This is in part because Amazon has split up certain categories in which certain subcategories do have distinctly different referral fees than the category as a whole. For example, on Seller Central, you can list in the Appliances category. However the referral fees page splits up Compact Appliances from Full-Size Appliances as they have separate referral fees. 

By Referral Fees, Appliances is Multiple Product Categories

Additionally, where sellers can add electronics and accessories to the Electronics category, by referral fees this category is broken up into the subcategories Consumer Electronics and Electronics Accessories.

By Referral Fees, Electronics is Multiple Product Categories

This page is not advising on product categories per se, but rather where referral fee delineations fall between and within different product categories. Which is to say it’s an authority on referral fees, not product categories.

Now that we’ve established all the different numbers of product categories you can find across Amazon's platform, we’re still left with the question, How many product categories are there?

Making Sense of All Amazon Product Categories

The best way to know just how many Amazon product categories you can sell in is to login to your Seller Central account and see what’s available.

However, by the count of how many categories are open to third party sellers in Seller Central, there are 26 categories you can sell in

There might be differing referral fees within those categories, you might be gated from a few categories and subcategories, but 26 is the surefire number. If you’d like to sell in a category not listed in Seller Central, chances are it’s a subcategory of a category you can sell in (or at least you can apply to sell in). 

And if you’d like our help in learning how to pick a product category to sell in, finding product ideas to sell on Amazon FBA, launching and optimizing that product and its listing, visit JOD.com/apply. You can set up a meeting with one of our staff who will understand your goals and show you how we can help you achieve (and maybe even surpass) them.

How many Amazon product categories do you count? 😂 Let me know in the comments. 


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Seth Kniep

Married a pearl. Fathered 4 miracles. Fired his boss. Turned a single dime into $104,857. Today, a self-made millionaire, Seth and his team of 8 badass coaches teach entrepreneurs how to build passive income on Amazon.

Dead serious about building income on Amazon with eight successful coaches in a community of badass Amazon sellers? Join the Amazon FBA Mastery membership.

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