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Alternative titles for this job

Buyers purchase goods to sell in warehouses, shops or department stores.


New buyers usually earn

$48K-$60K per year

Experienced buyers usually earn

$60K-140K per year

Source: research, 2020.

Job opportunities

Job opportunities for buyers are average due to high competition for positions.


Pay for buyers varies depending on where they work, what other duties they have, and experience.

  • New and assistant buyers usually start on $48,000 to $60,000 a year.
  • Buyers with one to five years' experience usually earn between $60,000 and $115,000.
  • Senior buyers can earn between $115,000 and $140,000.

Source: research, 2020.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)

What you will do

Buyers may do some or all of the following:

  • review stock levels and order products
  • review new products and consumer trends
  • talk with sales representatives and negotiate prices with suppliers
  • inspect, compare and select goods for sale
  • arrange payments and deliveries
  • decide how much to charge for goods
  • assist with product range and development.

Skills and knowledge

Buyers need to have knowledge of:

  • the market in which they intend to sell the goods
  • the products they are selling
  • competitors' prices, services and products
  • presentation and sales techniques
  • shopping and fashion trends
  • global product trends
  • budgeting, currency conversion and exchange rates.

Working conditions


  • work regular business hours, but may work longer hours if travelling
  • usually work in offices, but also spend time in warehouses and shops
  • may travel to trade shows, seminars and expos.

What's the job really like?

Don Urquhart

Don Urquhart

Wool Buyer

How did you become a buyer?

“It was by accident. I was farming at the time and I started buying on the side. My buying work grew and grew until it got to the point where I was trying to do two jobs. Then I had the opportunity to focus on buying, and I did.”

What’s your typical day like?

“I drive to farms, assess and buy wool, bring it back to our store, process it, sort it into various types and record it.

"It’s very important to accurately record what’s weighed in and out. We record the information in our sales system. The wool isn’t touched again until it arrives in Europe or China or wherever it’s being exported to. There’s no margin for error.”

What advice would you give someone wanting to get into the job?

“It pays to get some experience as a wool handler in a shearing gang or a wool scourer. This gives you experience in the early stages of processing wool. With training, you can become a wool classer and work towards becoming a buyer.

“To do this job properly, you really need to develop a passion for wool. People who stay in the wool industry get this 'wool disease' and they can’t get rid of it.”

Entry requirements

There are no specific entry requirements to become a buyer, but employers usually prefer you to have retail experience or tertiary qualifications in business, marketing, management or commerce.

Secondary education

There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a buyer. However, accounting, business studies and mathematics are useful.

Personal requirements

Buyers need to be:

  • outgoing, confident and persuasive
  • able to make good judgements
  • good communicators.

Useful experience

Useful experience for buyers includes:

  • sales
  • storeperson work
  • customer services
  • importing and exporting.

Physical requirements

Buyers need to be reasonably fit and healthy as they may need to lift heavy products such as wool bales.


Buyers can gain certification in production and inventory management through NZPICS.

Find out more about training

Retail NZ
0800 472 472 - -
0800 863 693 - -
Check out related courses

What are the chances of getting a job?

High competition for buyer jobs

The retail sector has experienced steady growth in recent years, and because retail is a large industry there is a demand for buyers. 

However, finding a job can be difficult due to high competition for roles. Employers often fill vacancies by promoting existing staff from positions such as sales assistant, shop manager or area manager

According to the Census, 1,458 buyers worked in New Zealand in 2020.

Types of employers varied

Most large retailers employ buyers. These include:

  • department stores
  • clothing stores
  • homeware and hardware chains.


  • Glassdoor, ‘Buyer Salaries in New Zealand’, 20 March 2020, (
  • Retail NZ, 'Retail Radar Report: Covid-19 Special Edition', July 2020, (
  • Retail NZ, 'Retail Radar: Quarterly Headlines From The Retail Sector', 2 October 2020, (
  • Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.
  • TradeMe, ‘Retail Salary Information’, accessed September 2020, (
  • Urquhart, D, owner, Kurow Wools Ltd, interview, October 2020.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)

Progression and specialisations

Buyers may progress to set up their own retail business, or move into brand or merchandise manager roles.

Buyers usually specialise in certain products such as:

  • vehicles
  • clothing
  • food
  • electronics
  • raw materials.

They may also specialise in brand management or visual merchandising.

A buyer and supplier shaking hands in a warehouse after making a deal

Buyers negotiate the price of retail goods with suppliers

Last updated 27 March 2024