Retail Salespersons

General Information


Sell merchandise, such as furniture, motor vehicles, appliances, or apparel to consumers.

Workplace at a Glance

What you can expect to experience while on the job

  • Responsibility
  • Exposure to job hazards
  • Physical activity
  • Decision making
  • Repetitiveness
  • Level of competition
  • Time pressure

Industry areas

  • General Merchandise Stores
  • Clothing Stores
  • Building Material and Supplies Dealers

Job Outlook

Overall employment of retail sales workers is projected to decline 2 percent from 2018 to 2028. Employment of retail salespersons is projected to decline 2 percent from 2018 to 2028. Competition from online sales will lead to employment declines in brick-and-mortar retail stores. The increase in online sales is expected to continue over the next decade, limiting growth in the number of physical retail stores and reducing demand for retail sales workers. Online sales also are projected to affect specific segments of the retail industry to varying extents. For example, book and media stores are likely to see the most severe declines due to online competition. However, other retail segments, such as automobile dealers, have experienced much less of an impact. Although online sales are expected to continue to increase, brick-and-mortar retail stores are also expected to increase their emphasis on customer service as a way to compete with online sellers. In addition, cost pressure may drive retailers to ask their in-store staff to do more. This means they may want workers who can perform a broad range of job duties that include helping customers find items, operating a cash register, and restocking shelves. Because retail sales workers provide this versatile range of services, they will still be needed in retail stores. In general, although consumers are increasing their online retail shopping, they will continue to do most of their retail shopping in stores. Retail salespersons will be needed in stores to help customers and to complete sales. Employment of parts salespersons is projected to show little or no change from 2018 to 2028. People are keeping their cars longer and are buying new cars less often. Older cars need to be serviced more frequently, creating demand for car parts and parts salespersons. However, growth is expected to be slowed by competition from online parts retailers.

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Average Salary



State-by-state Salary

Gray states indicate no data available

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Most Common Education Levels

People in this career achieve this level of education.

  • High school 63%
  • Less than high school 19%
  • Associate's degree 9%
  • Bachelor's degree 4%
  • Post-secondary certificate 2%
  • Some college 1%
  • Master's degree 0%
  • Doctoral degree 0%
  • Post baccalaureate 0%
  • Post-doctoral training 0%
  • Post-master's certificate 0%
  • First professional degree 0%


  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Sales and Marketing
  • English Language
  • Mathematics
  • Administration and Management

Skills at a Glance

Skills helpful in this career

  • Verbal skills
  • Critical thinking & problem solving
  • Equipment operation & maintenance
  • Math & science skills
  • Technology design & control
  • Leadership
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