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55+ Best Things To Buy and Sell in Bulk in South Africa

55+ Best Things To Buy and Sell in Bulk in South Africa

Buying items in bulk and reselling them in smaller quantities can be a lucrative business opportunity in South Africa. There are several key reasons why buying and selling in bulk is profitable:

  • Cost savings: When you buy products in large volumes directly from manufacturers or wholesalers, you can get huge discounts and lower per unit costs. This creates room for profit margins when reselling.
  • Meeting demand: Many consumers in South Africa prefer to buy essential items in smaller quantities from local shops due to lower disposable income and living paycheck to paycheck. Buying bulk and selling smaller affordable quantities meets this local consumer demand.
  • Arbitrage opportunities: Some items are cheaper to source directly from manufacturers than from regular retailers. Identifying these pricing differences or seasonal deals when sourcing bulk items can lead to great arbitrage opportunities.
  • Existing distribution channels: Small local shops and street vendors are always looking for affordable stock. Established distribution channels make it easy to find buyers in bulk.
  • Low entry costs: For some high-demand everyday items like food and household supplies, the capital required to get started reselling bulk is low. No need for sophisticated equipment or facilities.

With proper planning and execution, buying and selling bulk everyday items that locals consume regularly can become a full-time business activity and source of income. It offers the flexibility to start small and scale up over time as well.

Most Profitable Food Items to Buy and Sell in Bulk in South Africa

Certain types of affordable everyday food and beverage items are ideal for buying in bulk and reselling at a profit in smaller quantities in South Africa. Here are some of the most profitable food items to consider for your bulk buy and sell business:

Staple Grains, Cereals and Starches

  • Maize meal – A staple food for millions of South Africans. Look for good bulk pricing on popular brands. Can be sold in 5kg, 10kg or 25kg bags.
  • Rice – Look for deals on 20kg+ bags of white and brown rice, then sell in 1kg or 2kg packets.
  • Pasta – Spaghetti, macaroni and instant noodles are fast-moving products. Check for bulk cases of 24-100 packets.
  • Samp and beans – Precooked bulk bean and corn kernel mix, sold by the bag.
  • Flour – All-purpose white flour and cake flour in 10kg+ bags resold in 1kg packets.

Edible Oils and Fats

  • Cooking oil – Sunflower, canola and vegetable cooking oil sold by the 20 liter container or box of 12 x 2 liter bottles.
  • Margarine – Cases of 48 x 250g blocks of affordable margarine brands.
  • Butter – Cartons of 30 x 250g butter blocks when on promotion.
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Canned/Packaged Foods

  • Canned beans – Bulk cases of 48 x 410g baked beans, red kidney beans etc.
  • Canned fish – Affordable pilchards, tuna and mackerel in bulk multi-packs.
  • Canned vegetables – Mixed veggies, sweetcorn, peas, etc. sold in cases of 48 x 410g cans.
  • Canned fruit – Cases of 48 x 400g cans of peaches, pears, cocktail fruit etc. when in season.
  • Powdered milk – Bulk 25kg bags of instant milk powder, repack into affordable sachets.
Food ItemPackage SizeResale Format
Maize Meal25kg bag5kg, 10kg bags
Rice20kg bag1kg, 2kg packets
Samp & Beans50kg bag2kg, 5kg packets
Cooking Oil20 liters750ml, 2 liters


  • Tea – Look for deals on cases of luxury black tea bags from 100-250 bags.
  • Coffee – Affordable instant coffee packed in bulk tins of 500g to 1kg.
  • Sugar – 50kg bags of white refined sugar, resold in 1kg packets.
  • Squash – Bulk cases of concentrated cordial syrups, dilute and rebottle into 250ml.
  • Soda – 600ml glass bottles by the crate when on promotion with local brands.

The most important thing is to identify the key staples and everyday items that sell consistently through local outlets based on your market and geography. Stick to basic goods with steady local demand.

Most Profitable Household Supplies to Buy and Sell in Bulk in South Africa

Basic household supplies like cleaning products, toiletries and grooming accessories present another great opportunity to buy in bulk from manufacturers and resell at a profit to local vendors. Here are some of the top household supplies for your bulk buy resell business in South Africa:

Home Cleaning Supplies

  • Laundry soap bars – Bulk cases of washing soap bars, resold individually or in multi-packs.
  • Washing powder – 25kg bags of popular powder detergent brands, resold in smaller 1kg packets.
  • Bleach – Cases of concentrated bulk bleach, dilute and rebottle into 500ml-1L bottles.
  • Dishwashing liquid – 20 liter containers of concentrated dishwashing liquid, rescale into 250-500ml bottles.
  • Toilet cleaner – Bulk cases of 12 x 750ml bottles of strong toilet cleaning liquid.
  • Floor polish – 20 liter tins of concentrated wax floor polish, rescale and rebottle in 250-500ml.
ItemPackage SizeResale Format
Washing Powder25kg bag1kg packet
Bleach20 liters500ml bottle
Dishwashing Liquid20 liters250ml bottle

Personal Care and Hygiene Supplies

  • Bar soap – Bulk cases of individually wrapped affordable bar soaps.
  • Body lotion – Bulk 20-25 liter tubs of concentrated moisturizing lotion, rescale into 250-500ml bottles.
  • Vaseline – Bulk cases of small 20g-50g petroleum jelly tins.
  • Toothpaste – Cartons of 24-48 x 50-100g toothpaste tubes.
  • Toilet paper – Bulk master cases of 24-48 toilet paper rolls, sell by the roll.
  • Sanitary pads – Master cartons of affordable pad bundles, break down into packs of 4-8.
ItemPackage SizeResale Format
Bar SoapCase of 144Individual bars
ToothpasteCarton of 48Individual tubes
Toilet PaperCase of 48 rollsIndividual rolls

Hair and Beauty Supplies

  • Hair extensions – Bulk cases of affordable synthetic braiding hair bundles in popular colors.
  • Hair accessories – Bulk packs of hair bands, clips, ties, nets etc, break down into individual pieces or smaller packs.
  • Skin lighteners – Bulk 20 liter containers of concentrated lightening creams and soaps, rebottle into 100-250ml containers.
  • Petroleum jelly – 20 liter tubs of petroleum jelly, rescale into individual 20-50g tins.
  • Shampoo – Cases of 12 x 750ml affordable shampoo bottles.
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Focus on the basics that your local target customers use regularly. Provide convenience through smaller, affordable resale packs.

Most Profitable Personal Care Items to Buy and Sell in Bulk in South Africa

Personal care, hygiene, and grooming supplies present great opportunities for buying in bulk from manufacturers and reselling at a profit. Here are some of the most profitable personal care products to buy and sell in bulk:

Hair Care Products

  • Hair food – Bulk cases of hair moisturizers and nourishing hair creams, rescale into 100-250ml tubs for resale.
  • Relaxers and texturizers – Bulk cases of chemical straightening and texturizing hair kits, break down into individual kits.
  • Hair dye – Affordable powder and cream hair dye in bulk master cartons, rescale into individual sachets and tubes.
  • Hair oil – 20 liter jugs of hair oil concentrates like castor and coconut oil, rebottle into 250-500ml.
  • Hair bands – Bulk packs of plastic and fabric hair bands, break down into smaller affordable multi-packs.

Skin Care Products

  • Petroleum jelly – 20kg bulk tubs of petroleum jelly, rescale into individual 20-50g tubs.
  • Skin lighteners – 20 liter bulk containers of concentrated lightening creams and soaps, rebottle into 100-250ml containers.
  • Lotions and creams – 20-25 liter bulk tubs of moisturizing lotions and creams, rescale into 250-500ml containers.
  • Bar soap – Bulk cases of affordable bar soaps, packaged individually or in multi-bar packs.
  • Body scrub – Bulk 20 liter containers of concentrated body scrub, rescale into 250ml-500ml bottles.

Baby Care Items

  • Baby oil and lotion – 20 liter bulk containers, rescale into 250-500ml plastic bottles.
  • Baby powder – 20kg bulk bags, repackage into 100-200g plastic dispenser bottles.
  • Baby wipes – Master cases of affordable baby wet wipes, break down into packs of 24-48 wipes.
  • Diapers – Bulk master cases of popular diaper brands, sell in affordable smaller packs.
  • Baby wash – Bulk 20 liter containers of gentle baby wash, rescale into 250-500ml plastic bottles.
ProductBulk SizeResale Format
Relaxer KitsCase of 24Individual kits
Baby Oil20 liters250ml bottle
Baby WipesCase of 500Packs of 24

Focus on the high demand everyday personal care items consumed regularly by your target low-middle income demographic.

Most Profitable Baby and Kids Items to Buy and Sell in Bulk in South Africa

Baby consumables like diapers, wipes and food are in constant high demand by parents in South Africa. Kids snacks and treats also sell well. Here are some of the top baby and kids items to consider for your bulk buy and resell business:

Baby Food and Formula

  • Infant cereal – Bulk cases of individual affordable baby cereal packets, break down into smaller 3-5 pack bundles.
  • Baby food puree – Cases of 48 x 100g jars of non-perishable baby food fruits, vegetables, cereals and meals.
  • Infant formula – Bulk 10kg bags of budget instant baby formula powder, repackage into 400-800g plastic dispenser bottles.
  • Baby snacks – Bulk boxes of rusks, teething biscuits, meltables and puffs. Repackage into multi-packs or singles.
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Baby Feeding Supplies

  • Baby bottles – Cases of 24 x 250ml plastic baby bottles.
  • Sippy cups – Bulk cases of plastic sippy cups and straw cups, sell individually or in 2-packs.
  • Baby plates and cutlery – Bulk cases of melamine baby plates, bowls, spoons etc.

Baby Hygiene Supplies

  • Diapers – Cases of popular baby diaper brands, break down into smaller affordable multi-packs.
  • Baby wipes – Bulk master cases of 500+ wipes, resell in packs of 24-48 sheets.
  • Baby wash – 20 liter containers of gentle baby wash, rescale into 250-500ml plastic bottles.
  • Baby oil and lotion – 20 liter bulk jugs, rebottle into 250-500ml bottles.
ProductBulk SizeResale Format
Infant CerealCase of 24Packs of 3-5
Baby BottlesCase of 24Individual bottles
Baby WipesCase of 500Packs of 24

Kids Snacks and Treats

  • Candy – Bulk boxes of individually wrapped hard candies and chews. Repackage into smaller treat packs.
  • Chips and crisps – Bulk cases of small individual affordable snack packets, break down into multi-packs.
  • Fruit snacks – Bulk boxes of packaged fruit strips, bars and jellies. Create low-cost multi-packs.
  • Fruit juice – Bulk cases of 200-250ml juice boxes and pouches.
ProductBulk SizeResale Format
Candies5kg boxPacks of 10-20
ChipsCase of 48Multi-packs of 6
Juice BoxesCase of 24Individual boxes

Focus on the key baby basics and kids impulse snacks that sell easily. Provide convenience and affordability.

Tips for Finding Suppliers and Buyers when Buying and Selling in Bulk in South Africa

To build a successful bulk buy and resell business in South Africa, you need access to reliable bulk suppliers and a network of buyers for your resale inventory. Here are some tips for finding good suppliers and buyers:

Finding Bulk Suppliers

  • Existing business contacts – Talk to any current suppliers or businesses you have access to about bulk pricing and direct ordering.
  • Manufacturer and distributor directories – Search industry directories for food, home supplies and personal care manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors in South Africa.
  • Online B2B directories – Sign up on directories like MzanziTrade to find verified suppliers offering bulk pricing.
  • Import contacts – Speak to importers to buy bulk goods shipped in from countries like China and India.
  • Industry trade shows – Attend large trade shows to meet suppliers and get quoted for bulk orders.
  • Sales reps – Get contacts for sales reps of popular brands, they can facilitate bulk purchasing.
  • Cold emails & calls – Contact manufacturers and distributors directly by email and phone to source bulk pricing.

Finding Buyers and Outlets

  • Existing contacts – Offer bulk pricing on supplies to your existing business contacts and clients.
  • Local small shops – Visit independent local convenience shops, spazas, salons and vendors to offer bulk pricing.
  • Market stalls – Connect with market and street vendors looking for affordable stock.
  • Social media – Create pages for your business online and advertise your bulk offerings.
  • Community centers – Partner with community centers, churches, schools etc. to supply their programs.
  • Door-to-door – Go door-to-door in your community to make contacts with small businesses interested in your bulk goods.
  • Circulars – Distribute printed circulars and pamphlets in your area advertising your bulk offerings.

Build relationships and loyalty by offering the best bulk pricing and service to your buyers. Your supply network is key to ongoing profitability.

Key Takeaways

  • Buying essential everyday goods in bulk and reselling in smaller quantities is a proven profitable business model in South Africa.
  • Staple grains, cooking oils, canned foods, tea, soft drinks and other fast-moving food items present great bulk buying opportunities.
  • Basic household supplies like laundry soap, cleaning products, toilet paper and personal care basics like soap, toothpaste and cosmetics sell steadily and allow for good margins.
  • Baby and kids items like diapers, wipes, infant formula, baby food, snacks, beverages and treats are high demand essentials.
  • An extensive network of reliable bulk suppliers and a broad customer base of buyers is key for ongoing success.
  • Focus on high volume basics and stay up-to-date on promotions and seasonal deals.
  • Offer convenience and affordability to customers through smaller, budget-friendly resale packs.

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About the author

Kevin is a location independent freelancer, blogger, and side hustler located in South Africa. Originally from Kenya, he worked as a digital marketing developer for 5 years before making the leap to full-time freelancing.

Kevin has been featured in publications like Entrepreneur Magazine and The South African for his work promoting freelancing and side hustles in South Africa. When he's not working with clients or updating Freelancian, you can find him exploring new destinations as a digital nomad.

Want to share your own freelancing or side hustle story? Have a question for Kevin? Just want to say hello? You can contact Kevin and the Freelancian team at:

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