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 grow 2 percent from 2016 to 2026, slower than the average for all occupations. Employment of retail salespersons is projected to grow 2 percent from 2016 to 2026, slower than the average for all occupations. The employment of retail salespersons has traditionally tracked the health of the overall economy. The increase in online sales is expected to continue over the next decade, limiting the growth of the number of physical retail stores and moderating the demand for retail sales workers. Online sales also are projected to affect specific segments of the retail industry to varying extents. For instance, book and media stores are likely to see the most severe declines due to online competition. However, other retail segments, such as automobile dealers and clothing stores, 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 have this versatile range of functions, their usage should also increase. Therefore, traditional retail stores should hire more sales workers to provide this service. In general, although consumers are increasing their online retail shopping, they will continue to do the majority of their retail shopping in stores. Retail salespersons will be needed in stores to help customers and complete sales. Therefore, although the growth of online shopping will likely constrain overall employment growth, job opportunities for retail sales workers within physical stores should continue to increase. Employment of parts salespersons is projected to grow 5 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. 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 may 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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