A shop might demand a product can only be sold in a certain quantity, for example 5, which means you cannot purchase 2, 8 or 17, but only 5, 10, 15, etc.

How would this requirement be called in English? In other words, what label would correctly describe this requirement to the visitor. Here are some phrases I tried:

  • order multiplicity
  • unit size
  • sold per

However none of these seems to be used much in the correct context.

3 Answers 3


Generally this [sale only of certain multiples] is because the item (say, cans of baked beans) are themselves packed in cases of (say) 24, and the store doesn't want to split a case.

That case is called an outer (See ODO noun 3), and that term could be used as it does have currency in retail. It's well down the usage list, however, and could easily class as industry-specific jargon.

But "pack size: 24 cans" might suffice, or "sold in cases of 24 cans" or "sold only in cases of 24 cans" would be absolutely explicit.

  • 1
    How would this translate to a general label (where the quantity is displayed after the label). Something like "Sold in cases of: X" ?
    – Arne
    Sep 9, 2016 at 9:43
  • Provided that the basic unit was clear somewhere. "Baked beans, 400g can. Sold in cases of 24" would be fine. You then need to be absolutely explicit about whether the price you show is per can or per case.
    – Andrew Leach
    Sep 9, 2016 at 14:30
  • For a generic term, “in units of” works well: eggs are sold in units of 12 (in cartons of 12 / by the dozen); cigarettes are sold in units of 20 (in packs of 20).
    – Jon Purdy
    Sep 11, 2016 at 21:33

I remember seeing the following methods (example amounts) of displaying such information. Unfortunately, I am unable to find online references yet.

$2 for a pack of 5

$3 per 5 units/pieces

$3 per 5 units or part (thereof)

5 for $4


Bulk sales are generally referred to as "wholesale" although this word is seldom used with reference to individual consumers. It's normally used in connection with supplier sales to retailers.


  • 1
    But wholesale doesn't answer to OP's question. It fails to capture the size in terms of multiples. Sep 9, 2016 at 13:01

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