An overview of the sector
Money makes the world go round, and nothing spins it faster than the consumer goods sector. Practically everything that’s dear to living a modern life can be attributed to retailers who know the needs of their customers inside out. The clothes we wear, the food we eat, and whatever educates or entertains us all fall under the ‘consumer’ banner, and we mostly scoop them up without a second thought.
Behind the scenes, however, are people dreaming up marketing initiatives, new product ranges, and ways to get their stock in as many hands as possible. Every item you see on a shop floor has been placed there for a reason, and retail gurus are forever dreaming up incentives for us to buy them.
Key roles in this sector
Since we all use consumer products in some form or another, there’s a veritable galaxy of career paths to explore, including:
The great forecasters of the industry, deciding what goods are on display in specific periods to maximise the profit of available stock. Read our overview of Buying and Merchandising.
Sniffing out innovative suppliers, and negotiating terms of purchase. Also responsible for delivery dates to a store or company warehouse.
Read what you can expect to earn in the consumer and FMCG sector as a graduate, all the way up to a senior level.
Before companies choose where to pour their resources, they want to know what their customers are thinking. Researchers devise questionnaires and reports summarising the opinions of a demographic.
Leaders of the workforce, motivating retail staff to perform at their best, and coming up with initiatives to boost their store earnings.
Every retail site needs a strong design element to attract attention; designers liaise with marketing teams to create striking interiors.
Learn more about the key graduate roles in consumer and retail.
Key firms in this sector
We could go on and on about the variety of firms in this sector, but instead, we have listed a few that you might be interested in...
For more, check out our A-Z List: Leading Graduate Employers in Consumer & Retail.
Key skills you need to work in consumer, FMCG and retail
- Verbal and written communication
- Commercial awareness - signup to Bright Network's weekly updates to stay in the loop.
- Customer service skills
Read here to find out more about the skills you need for this sector.
Top tips for this sector
- Start thinking about products objectively
- Join an entrepreneurial society at university or do something entrepreneurial
- Do your research and map out potential career routes
- Focus on growth and don't be afraid to look beyond the big brands
- Learn how to sell consultatively and empathise with customer needs
- Work experience or internships - take a look at the latest consumer, FMCG and retail internships.
For more detail, read our 6 Tips for Getting ahead in Consumer and Retail.
Did you know ...
- In 2019, there are over 306,655 separate retail outlets in the UK with sales of £394 billion.
- Some British retail giants, such as Marks & Spencer, are increasing their international presence, giving more opportunities for overseas work.
- The market share of supermarkets such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons is losing ground to European upstarts Lidl and Aldi. This trend is forecast to continue.
- A 2015 PostNord survey identifies clothing, home electronics and books as best-selling consumer items, primarily due to mail orders from e-commerce retailers.
Taking the next steps ...
Shaping the future of brands we know and love can be a brilliant career move. You’ll have the pressure of making goods rise above the competition, but that makes for a stimulating role that’ll reward energy, creativity and forward thinking.
If you're ready to take yours first step into the Consumer, FMCG and Retail industry, use our handy application list to browse graduate jobs. What are you waiting for?