what is a category manager?

As a category manager, your primary focus is to enhance the development and use of a product or service. Since you manage a specific product category, you are responsible for promoting and pricing its products. You also develop strategies to promote the marketing efforts for a product category and increase sales.

Some category managers also research new ideas like substitutes and complementary goods for the categories to improve product visibility and revenue. As a category manager, you work in teams throughout the research and development stages and develop strategic marketing plans to boost customer engagement and promotions. You rely on data analysis to understand valuable category insights like customer behaviour and purchases and use the information to drive growth.

what does a category manager do?

As a category manager, you satisfy consumer and company needs. That means you need in-depth knowledge of the target consumer, from their preferences and where they purchase their products to the popular promotion methods for the demographic. You can determine product prices by balancing the company's profit margin with competitor prices. You also devise ways to use prices to attract more sales and upsell other products in the category.

category manager jobs

average salary of a category manager

In Australia, a category manager earns a median salary of $125,000 per year. When you are starting, your entry-level salary starts at $110,000 annually. However, as you climb the ranks and build your experience, the remuneration package increases to $140,000 per year. Some employers also pay annual bonuses and contribute to additional medical costs. Non-monetary benefits include paid holidays and annual sick leave.

how to increase your salary as a category manager

As a category manager, your skills and qualifications determine your remuneration. You can demand a higher salary when you have additional skills or qualifications like a master's degree. Your experience level is also important in determining your earnings. Entry-level experience lowers your salary prospects, but if you have taken up similar roles in the past, your hands-on experience is valuable. Employers are willing to pay more for category managers with additional experience.

The company size and type also influence your earning potential. Your remuneration package and benefits are attractive when you work for a multinational company. Large companies, such as those in mineral production, have more extensive resources and can afford to pay higher salaries. The complexity of the role in large organisations also warrants better remuneration than smaller companies.

Want to know what you will earn as a category manager? Check out what you are worth with our salary checker.

category manager salary

types of category managers

Some types of category managers include:

  • retail category manager: as a category manager working for a retailer, you devote your time to inventory management, price planning and visual merchandising. You also meet with suppliers to ensure optimal prices for a product category. Your role involves identifying gaps and helping the retailer capitalise on new trends by allocating additional shelf space and increasing the visibility of fast-moving products. Retail category managers also ensure the correct product range is provided to consumers.
  • supply category manager: when working for a supplier, you improve the performance of a specific product category in various stores. You can devise ways to maximise shelf space and placement and analyse competitor products' performance in a store. Most category managers working with suppliers spend time negotiating with retailers on the placement of the products.
group of employees having a meeting
group of employees having a meeting

working as a category manager

As a category manager, you help a business improve sales and revenue from a particular product category. The role requires excellent business acumen and strategic thinking to promote the success of a product category.


category manager education and skills

The following educational qualifications are crucial for a category manager:

  • bachelor's degree: an undergraduate degree is not always a requirement, but most employers prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree. You can pursue an undergraduate course in marketing, business management or commerce. The bachelor's degree prepares you for your role by imparting knowledge of consumer behaviour, marketing strategy and business statistics. The bachelors degrees desired for this role are: bachelor of business, bachelor of commerce, or bachelor of business administration.
  • management experience: you should have prior experience in a specific field to be a category manager. Begin your career with internships or entry-level roles in marketing and sales to develop your marketing skills. It is also crucial to gain management experience. Taking on managerial positions in marketing or sales boosts your employability and prepares you for the complexities of the category manager role.

category manager skills and competencies

Some of the qualities of a category manager include:

  • strategic thinking: as a category manager, strategic thinking is critical in developing and implementing plans. You are responsible for creating strategies that streamline marketing processes to improve sales. Strategic thinking helps you choose the best solutions that produce tangible results for organisations.
  • market research skills: as a category manager, you should understand your consumers to develop marketing approaches that resonate with them. Your research skills will help you analyse the market and find better ways to promote your products.
  • management skills: as a category manager, you should have effective leadership and management skills to manage your teams. Your leadership skills are vital for inspiring and motivating workers, while management skills help you organise the workflows, delegate tasks and conduct performance reviews.
  • computer skills: as a category manager, computer skills come in handy since you will use multiple software to run your department. For instance, you use digital marketing tools, online communication and promotional tools and analytics software.

FAQs about working as a category manager

Here are the most asked questions about working as a category manager:

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