Amazon Categories: Gated, Ungated, Most Profitable and Others
There are a lot of products sold on Amazon, which means there are a lot of product categories. This begs the question: Which category is the best one to sell in? Unfortunately, there’s no definitive answer.
Every category has its pros and cons, so it will be up to you to do your research and find the one that works for you.
To help you with the process, we’ve put together this guide. If you’re not sure which category you should sell in, keep reading to learn everything you need to know about Amazon categories.
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Why is it Important to Choose the Right Category?
While there are no bad categories some are definitely better than others. This is because:
Some categories are gated, meaning you have to get approved to sell in them.
Some sell more than others.
Some have higher referral fees.
While there are successful sellers in every category, choosing one with more advantages will certainly make it easier to grow your business early on.
Which Categories Are Gated?
As we just mentioned, gated categories require approval from Amazon in order to sell in them. If a category is gated it’s usually because the products sold there have a higher degree of scams and counterfeit items.
It’s no secret what Amazon categories are restricted. They are:
Personal Safety and Household products
Any product that’s “Made in Italy”
Music & DVD
Automotive & Powersports
Streaming Media Players
Video, DVD, & Blu-ray
Just to be clear, gated categories aren’t necessarily bad. In fact, if you can get approved in one of them you’ll have an advantage since there are fewer people selling in them.
The main issue is the approval process. You might have to meet additional requirements and submit documents in order to prove your business is legitimate. There could be a lot of hoops to jump through, which can take time. So, unless you’re sure it’s worth all the effort it might be more beneficial to sell in an ungated category. That way you can get started right away.
How to Get Ungated
If you want to get approved for one of these categories, start by adding the item to your inventory like you normally would:
Log in to your Seller Central account.
Under “Inventory” choose “Add a Product.”
Find the item you want to sell.
Once you find your product click “Show Limitations.” If you need approval there will be a “Request Approval” button you can click on to get started.
You may also see a message saying that Amazon isn’t currently accepting applications for this item, which means you’re blocked from selling it. This is why if you’re going to sell in a gated category you should go through this process first. Otherwise, you might get stuck with inventory you can’t sell.
For more information about ungating process, check out this article.
List of Ungated Categories
If you don’t like requiring approval to sell a product then you’ll want to choose one of the categories below. These are all unrestricted, meaning you won’t need approval from Amazon to sell in them.
Amazon’s open categories are:
Arts & Crafts
Beauty & Personal Care
Clothing & Accessories
Health & Household
Home & Kitchen
Industrial & Scientific
Shoes, Handbags, & Sunglasses
Sports & Outdoors
Tools & Home Improvement
Keep in mind that there may be restrictions on some products and subcategories within a category. So, even if the category as a whole isn’t gated you should still check any product you’re thinking of selling to make sure you don’t need approval.
Which Categories Are Most Popular?
As you can see, there are many categories to choose from. So you’re probably wondering which one is most popular with consumers.
Below are the best-selling Amazon categories, according to Statista. How they rank is based on the percentage of American consumers that purchased an item in that category during the 2019 calendar year:
Electronics - 44%
Clothing/Shoes/Jewelry - 43%
Home & Kitchen - 39%
Beauty & Personal Care - 36%
Books - 33%
Cell Phones & Accessories - 28%
Movies & TV - 25%
Pet Supplies - 20%
Sports & Outdoors - 17%
Grocery - 15%
Should You Sell in One of The Above Categories?
While the above categories are the most popular as a whole that doesn’t automatically mean you should sell in them. Here’s why:
Just because an item is listed under a popular category doesn’t automatically mean it’s a top seller.
There’s more to consider than just sales, such as cost, FBA fees (using FBA isn’t mandatory but it comes with many benefits, including allowing your products to qualify for Prime shipping), size/weight, competition, etc.
Some of the most popular categories are gated, which could delay or prevent you from selling in them.
Basically, there’s a lot more than just the category to consider when choosing whether or not you should sell a product.
How Do You Choose the Right Category to Sell In?
This question is asked by a lot of sellers. The truth is, you shouldn’t be worried about what category you sell in. It doesn’t matter how many sales a category averages, but rather how many sales your item averages.
Create a list of criteria for your ideal product and then search for items that meet those requirements. If you uncover data that says a product sells about 300 units each month it doesn’t matter what category it’s listed under. You’ve found a profitable item and if you promote it using the right keywords you’re sure to find success.
Basically, don’t go looking for the right category. Look for the right product. Keep in mind too that you can sell in multiple categories, which will give your business some variation.
How to Find Profitable Products
Luckily, there are a number of tools available to help sellers find profitable products to sell on Amazon. This makes it relatively easy to determine which items will make you the most money.
Follow the steps below to consistently find winning products:
To generate product ideas use the AMZScout Product Database. This tool’s many search filters allow you to focus on the items that meet your criteria. You can also select which categories you’d like to search for.
Set up filters in the product database: the price to $30 - $70, the maximum reviews to 200, the minimum estimated sales to 300, and the maximum weight to 5 lbs. Then click “Find Products.”
Review the results and choose your three or four favorites.
Go to Amazon and search for the items you’re interested in.
Analyze the niche. When the results come up, or you’re on the listing page of the product you’re interested in, open the AMZScout Pro Extension. You’ll gain access to an in-depth chart with all kinds of useful data that’s not available on Amazon’s website.
Look for niches with high average revenue, an average net margin over 50%, a visibility score of 1-3 (these are the least competitive), and a niche score of 7 or higher (this means high profitability).
To see product sales over the last two years click “Niche History”. Look for consistent sales or sales that are trending up. Avoid items that only seem to sell well during certain times of the year.
If a niche or product has all the qualities listed above chances are it will be profitable on Amazon.
Looking for more information on Amazon categories? Here are our answers to a few of the most common questions we receive:
What is the Amazon Product Category Tree?
The Amazon product category tree refers to the many categories and subcategories on Amazon’s website. Within each primary category, there is a second layer of subcategories and further subcategories under those.
Each subcategory “branches off” so to speak and gets more and more specific. When all the categories or laid out it looks like a tree, hence the name.
How to Change a Product’s Category on Amazon
To change a product’s category go to this page. You may need to sign in to Seller Central if you haven’t done so already. Then enter the ASIN of the item you want to update to submit your request.
If you want to change the category of multiple products at once you can use the “Add a Product” tool and upload an inventory file with your desired changes.
What are the Referral Fees for Each Category?
Amazon sellers must pay a referral fee every time they make a sale. This is essentially Amazon’s cut of the sale and the amount varies by category. The referral fees are as follows
Ideally, you’ll want to choose a category with a lower referral fee. However, if your profit margins are high enough you may be able to overcome a larger fee.
While some categories sell more than others there’s really no right or wrong category to choose to sell in. Instead, focus on finding profitable products in order to build a successful Amazon business.