Australia shopper’s enchantment with offshore online purchases is expected to rise by $AU1.2 billion to $AU6 billion this year, according to new research from PricewaterhouseCoopers. The report predicts that online shopping will grow 13 percent this year and is valued at $AU13.6 billion. Around 44 percent of those online sales …
And now, Harvey Norman et al. will complain about it again
He'll be out there campaigning for the government to come to the rescue of the "poor little Aussie Battler retailer" again. And it will backfire, again.
If I can buy a book from The Book Depository cheaper than I can by it from a store in my local shopping centre, why wouldn't I? Give me one reason why I should spend more to buy the latest game from Harvey Norman when I can by it online through Steam for less... and have it pre-loaded on my machine ready to go on day one. I haven't been into a chain music store in years, for the same reasons.*
I'm sorry if you think there's some god-given right for you to have my money, but it's just not so. We live in a global community now, and if you, the Aussie retailer, can't bargain a better price to be competitive, then your problem is not with me, the consumer, the problem is with your suppliers and distributors and your business model.
*I understand that some boutique retails provide more than just a price benefit, and I'm willing to support independent retailers (e.g. book stores, music stores) when I'm looking for more than just the best price on a popular item.
Supporting poorer countries
We at the rectum end of the world, fed up with limited choice and obsolete products feel it's our duty to support the poorer countries of the world by buying overseas:
Take Asus as an example - could I buy one of their USB, external Blu-Ray drives in Oz when I wanted it? No, just the DVD drive from 2 product generations ago. Same stiory with the ION2 1215N laptop - not available down under.
Note that we don't have that many poorer countries to shop online with:
UK, Canada, and the (b)leader of them all the USA, the complete list of places to make our charity donations to are here (tin foil hat on):
Not that you'll catch us shopping on-line in Nigeria, Turkmenistan, Angola or Bhutan - they don't need our Ozzie dollars!
Two key drivers
1. Strong currency
2. Most local retailers being thieving bastards due to having had it too good for too long when it comes to pricing power and who has it.
When I first came here I couldn't understand how prices could be so high when all the stuff came from China anyhow and things like textiles were typically of very poor quality - I could buy 3 pairs of wool suit trousers in the UK for less than the price to two polyester pairs here. Apparently piss poor textile quality and sky high prices have always been the case. Major electronics retailers simply fisted the consumer and every opportunity. The only online shopping you could do with them was look at a pdf or flash of their catalogue - up until about 2010! Too little, too late.
Now the worm has turned and Aussies have finally welcomed the world of internet shopping en masse. The only thing that may slow it down would be a currency collapse in which case they won't be consuming anything but essentials. Best the retailers embrace the new way and get competitive as, for the like of David Jones etc, those profit/revenue slumps will be a permanent fixture.
Its hardly surprising more Aussies are going overseas when you look at how much money can be saved. I can usually get audio CD's from Amazon UK at half the price or less of a bricks and mortar shop in Australia, despite having to pay shipping costs from the other side of the world. Now Amazon UK even offer free shipping on orders above 25 pounds, making the deal even better.
When you factor in the other advantages, such as the much greater range, the convenience of not having to drive the car to a shopping mall and spending time trying to park and then having to walk half a kilometer to the shop and back, not being told "sorry, we have none in stock at the moment, try again in two weeks", or "we only have that in black sir, not blue", or "we only have one left - the display model", etc - going overseas for goods is a no-brainer.
As an Aussie I regularly buy items abroad - often from Amazon US or other online sites that will ship here. I consistently find this to be a *lot* cheaper than buying from both stores and online in Australia as the Aussie dollar is very strong. This includes business shirts, electronics, movies, games, etc.
If it's really heavy i'll buy it in Australia because the shipping charges will kill me.
Australia has no consumer import tax below item value of $1000 so there is no concern over my items getting stopped by customs. I'll buy from the US, Hong Kong, Singapore - anywhere! If the store in the US wont ship to Australia I even have a service to pay by card, get it shipped to a US address and then have it forwarded onto me!
Items in Australia are often much more expensive for a number of reasons -
1.) Companies do pay import tax on commercial items they wish to sell in Australia. This has to be passed on.
2.) Lots of Aussie stock may have been purchased when the exchange rate was not as good as it is so the prices remain high to cover this cost (cry me a river, welcome to the risk of importing - i'll just buy it direct from the US!)
3.) Lots of Aussie companies keeping the prices the same but making profit on the strong Aussie dollar (again, i'll just buy abroad)
4.) Good old rip off Australia. Even with the import taxes Australians tend to pay far more as companies want profit profit profit (see cars, alcohol and pretty much anything else - much more expensive here above and beyond the tax increases).
I'd say the majority of my 'significant' purchases are made abroad and I welcome this shift. Anything to bring competition and lower proces locally - hopefully the new Costco in Sydney will pressurise some of the stranglehold Woolies and Coles have.
Yes, it's a title...
I can't speak for Aussie online retailers from personal experience, but not long ago I was looking for a recently released book here in New Zealand. Ordering online from the big local chain estimated a 10-15 day delivery period, and was the retail price, though shipping was free. OTOH the Book Depository in the UK had the same book, for NZ$3 cheaper, free shipping, and a 7-10 day estimated delivery time. Guess where my money went? The local online businesses are often their own worst enemies.
No changes here.
I used to buy from overseas when you had to check your time zone, pick up the telephone, and talk to a physical person to do it. The fact it's easier now doesn't negate the reason to going to all the trouble in the first place. We have been, are being, and probably will continue to be outright gouged.
And that's not even counting the availability time. There is a routine 2+ year wait on Australian DVDs of TV series, when the US versions had already been released.
And the retailers are whining about it now? I'm surprised it took them this long to realise they've been having so good for so long. Or perhaps I should be asking what took the rest of the end-users to realise they've been fleeced all this time?
Tried buying a gigaset dect phone in NZ? Good luck.
Oz retailers might have a few but don't ship here.
UK retailers have lots to choose from, run specials and are cheaper than anything this side of the world to start with (US retailers are out, as their shipping prices are usually stupid, and their 110V power supplies suck).
Devil in the etail...
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