Due to the COVID-19 pandemic some of our job opportunities information may have changed. We’re working on updating our job profiles as soon as possible.



Alternative titles for this job

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


New buyers usually earn

$42K-$60K per year

Experienced buyers usually earn

$60K-140K per year

Source: careers.govt.nz research, 2020.

Job opportunities

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


Pay for buyers varies depending on the size of the business they work for, what other duties they do, and how much experience they have.

  • New and assistant buyers usually start on about $42,000 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: careers.govt.nz 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
  • learn about new products and consumer trends
  • talk with sales representatives and negotiate prices with suppliers
  • inspect, compare and select goods for sale
  • arrange for payment and delivery
  • 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 have to work longer hours when travelling
  • usually work in offices, but also spend time in warehouses and shops
  • usually travel domestically and sometimes internationally, to trade shows, seminars and expos.

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.

Many buyers start their career by working in retail outlets as salespeople, and gain skills required for the job by attending trade fairs and assisting with stock purchasing.

Secondary education

There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a buyer. However, useful subjects include English, maths and accounting.

Personal requirements

Buyers need to be:

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

Useful experience

Useful experience for buyers includes work as a:

  • salesperson
  • storeperson
  • customer services worker.

Experience with importing and exporting is also useful.


Buyers can choose to gain certification in production and inventory management through NZPICS Incorporated, which offers modules in all aspects of production management and planning.

Find out more about training

Retail NZ
0800 472 472 - www.retail.kiwi/contact - www.retail.kiwi
0800 863 693 - info@serviceiq.org.nz - www.serviceiq.org.nz
Check out related courses

What are the chances of getting a job?

Impact of COVID-19 on retail jobs

The retail sector has experienced steady growth in recent years, but has been impacted significantly by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vacancies for buyers are still being advertised regularly because retail is a large industry. However, finding a job can be difficult due to high competition for roles and the impact of COVID-19.

According to the Census, 1,458 buyers worked in New Zealand in 2018.

Available jobs may not be advertised

Competition for buyer jobs is high and employers often fill vacancies by promoting existing staff from positions such as sales assistant, shop manager or area manager.

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, (www.glassdoor.co.nz).
  • Payscale website, accessed September 2020, (www.payscale.com).
  • Retail NZ, 'Retail Radar Report: Covid-19 Special Edition', July 2020, (www.retail.kiwi).
  • Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.
  • TradeMe, ‘Retail Salary Information’, accessed September 2020, (www.trademe.co.nz).

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

Progression and specialisations

Buyers can progress to being brand managers or merchandise managers.

Buyers usually specialise in a certain type of product such as vehicles, clothing, food products, electronic goods or raw materials such as wool. They can also specialise in brand management or visual merchandising.

Some buyers go on to set up their own retail businesses.

Tamanda Chinula and a salesman looking at products laid out on a shop counter

Buyers talk with salespeople and negotiate prices with suppliers

Last updated 10 September 2020