It would have been some time in 2016 when Amazon announced it would be coming to Australia to sell physical products in addition to the already available digital books. 2017 was filled with rumours of an impending launch throughout the year.
The rumours weren’t just about the launch though, there was much talk about the changing landscape of retail in Australia. Established retail giants like Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi would be the hardest hit, it was said.
Retailers were, apparently, scared.
Broking house Morgan Stanley talked of Amazon’s 12 billion-dollar raid on Australian retail, suggesting that would be how much Amazon would take out of the retail industry over the next decade. Of course, for Australian consumers, this is all great news. For many years we have looked enviously towards the Amazon enabled countries and the cheap prices available to them via this online giant.
Free shipping too, mostly, which is nice.
We waited and waited and 2017 almost became 2018 when, in the middle of the night, well actually at midnight, on December 5, Amazon launched to absolutely no fanfare whatsoever. In the morning, when we awoke, it was just there.
Amazon in Australia
Being a pro-online shopper myself, as opposed to traipsing around a shopping mall, I had waited patiently before committing to buy the Christmas presents I had lined up for my loved ones. So for me, the launch came just in time.
I imagined making myself a sandwich, and sitting down to munch through it whilst tapping model numbers into Amazon search. I was confident the total cost of my stuff would easily qualify me for free shipping, probably by drone, to arrive within just a few days. Hey, maybe even minutes!
Happy Christmas, happy loved ones and all without having to find a car parking space.
Let’s go shopping
Before we start, and in the interest of clarity, I should explain that this is a reenactment of my experiences with Amazon back in December of last year. In other words I’m doing the searches today (7 March 2018) to get today’s prices. This should work in Amazon’s favour, as they are now three months post launch.
Apparently, they have more stock now and a wider range of goods at keener prices. We shall see.
Mrs Bob wanted a Sangean DPR-26BT Radio for Christmas. This particular radio was available from JB Hi-Fi for $249, but I checked on Amazon, and…Sangean DPR-26BT DAB+ Bluetooth Digital Radio with AUST SANGEAN WARRANTY
Ships from and sold by NoFrills.
Yes, it is listed on Amazon, and at a great price, but actually it’s not supplied by Amazon. It is supplied by one of their ‘Sellers’, NoFrills. Amazon have ‘Sellers’ in pretty much the same way as eBay has ‘Sellers’. So I checked on eBay for this radio…
Guess who popped up at the top of the listings? Exactly. NoFrills again, at the same price and also with free postage. No change there then.
Elizabeth wanted lots of things for Christmas, and one of them was called a SanDisk iXpand V2 32GB.
SanDisk iXpand 32GB V2 USB Flash Drive iPhone & iPad
Ships from and sold by wireless1_eshop.
As you can see though, again, whilst it is available and listed, it’s not Amazon supplying this product, it’s another Seller. The same seller who also comes top in eBay for ‘SanDisk iXpand V2 32GB’, except it’s actually cheaper on eBay at $57.50.
Incidentally, this same device is available from my local Officeworks for $59…
I was beginning to wonder though, is Amazon Australia the new eBay?
What I wanted for Christmas was a Teac LPU192CD Turntable Stereo System, so I could easily transfer my vinyl into MP3 format. So, out of interest, I searched Amazon for it, and it wasn’t available at all.
Just not there.
Harvey Norman stock them, JB Hi-Fi have them as well, and of course they are sold on eBay. They were not though, on Amazon. Not now and not before Christmas either. Incidentally, none of these three items were available for delivery before Christmas from Amazon AU, my online shopping experiment had drawn a blank.
No drone delivery for me. I got into my car and drove to the shopping mall to look for a parking spot.
Things can only get better
Other rumours about Amazon are that they are strategically going for a ‘slow rollout’. The suggestion is that over time, things will get better.
One of the other presents my daughter wanted was a pair of Sennheiser CX3.00 In-Ear Headphones, and when I searched for them at the time, they were not available on Amazon.
I’ve just searched again and look what I found…
Sennheiser CX 3.00 White
Price: $74.18 & FREE Delivery Details
Ships from and sold by Amazon AU. Gift-wrap available.
Not only did they have them in stock, but they were cheap, at $74.18. They also qualified for free shipping. The big news though was that this product was actually being supplied by Amazon AU. Crikey, they would even giftwrap them for me.
JB Hi-Fi sell these same headphones for $89 and Harvey Norman sell them for $88, so Amazon have knocked about 16% off of their competitors prices. I did find one Australian online store selling these same headphones for $69, but then they wanted $14.45 for postage, so this is a victory for Amazon.
Given Amazon’s track record elsewhere, I wouldn’t mind betting their ‘slow rollout’ will continue to gather momentum over 2018 and who knows, maybe this year I will be getting all my Christmas shopping from one place.
Delivered by drone and giftwrapped would be nice.
What about comparing these prices with the UK and the US?
Good idea. A quick search reveals the following prices of the above-mentioned goods that are available in both the UK and the US.
- Sangean DPR-26BT DAB+ £167.70 ($297.69 AUD)
- SanDisk iXpand 32GB V2 USB Flash Drive £36.99 ($65.66 AUD)
- Sennheiser CX 3.00 White £34.22 ($60.75 AUD)
- Sangean DPR-26BT DAB+ $317.35 USD but not usually available in the US
- SanDisk iXpand 32GB V2 USB Flash Drive $35.40 USD ($45.39 AUD)
- Sennheiser CX 3.00 White $20.77 USD ($26.63 AUD)
I think we need to ignore the radio in the US, it’s not comparable as I believe this model had to be shipped from Europe, but the other two items are significantly cheaper in the states.
On the other hand, the DAB radio is significantly cheaper in Australia compared to the UK and even the iXpand costs less in Oz. Only the Sennheiser headphones are cheaper in the UK when compared to Australia.
All prices as at 7 March 2018 and my thanks to Amazon AU, JB Hi-Fi, Officeworks and eBay for the images.
I have been following you for a while now, and i just wanted to tell you that I’m in Brisbane now.
Unfortunately, i haven’t got my PR yet and i am here with a student visa.
Life is not easy on a student visa, this is not a good time to be in Australia, luckily i got a job, but only temporary, and my wife, who was a Veterinary doctor back home she could only find a cleaning job once a week.
So sorry, this has nothing to do with your Amazon post, but i just wanted to tell you how i feel about Australia.
I have read almost all your posts and got all your migrations advice’s and i even brought my dogs with me!
Anyway Brisbane city es one of the greatest places i have visited and the most beautiful city that i have lived in. Now I know why you chose Brisbane and understand a lot better your past posts.
Firstly, welcome to Brisbane, and yes, I think it’s a beautiful city as well. 10 years I’ve been here now and I still love it.
And I agree with you in many ways, this isn’t the best of times to move to Australia, jobs can sometimes be quite difficult to get. Mind you, it’s been that way for a few years now, I wrote about it back in 2015…
If you can get a permanent job though and if you’re wife can get something more suitable, and I’m sure you will in time, then life will get much better pretty quickly. I do hope that happens for you soon.
Good luck, Bob
Aren’t student visas primarily designed for students?
Yes, they are, but there are lots of different kinds of student visas which allow you to do different things. Some student visas allow only for 40 hours a fortnight of work, but unlimited hours when college is not in session.
Other kinds of student visas, I think there’s one for graduates, allow for full-time working. It’s complicated, everything to do with visas is complicated, that’s why I always leave that sort of stuff to MARA registered migration agents.
OK, I used Amazon in the US a LOT. Prime member and LOVED the experience. I rarely bought anything in a store unless I checked to see if I could get it on Amazon first. While they didn’t have everything, they had most things and for less $. I simply had to wait for 2 days and my items arrived!
However, my husband and I moved to Australia 5 days ago and what a difference! I was positive I had packed two small plastic coffee filters, but to my dismay they weren’t in my luggage (they are packed in a box in our storage unit, waiting in the US until we buy a house and have our belongings shipped here).
I looked at several stores and asked in several coffee shops – no one had any idea of what I wanted, even after I showed them a pic! Unable to find any I checked out Australia Amazon – well hooray, they offered them – exactly what I wanted. However, each one cost $260. After I stopped laughing I contacted my daughter who is remaining in the States, asked her to buy them on Amazon (US) and mail them to me. She paid $31 for two. Even with whatever she has to pay for shipping them to me, the cost won’t be nearly so prohibitive.
So, why would Australia Amazon (AA) offer something that is so much less in the states – do they really expect ANYONE will buy a simple coffee filter for $260???
Because of the excellent experience I had in the US, I’m eager to support AA but come on, be reasonable!
That sounds crazy, to the extent where one wonders if a mistake has been made on the pricing. I can assure you, prices between Australia and the US not normally that different.
Hopefully Amazon Australia will improve over time.
As a seller on Amazon and eBay I can advise that it is only matter of time until your Aussie Amazon is rocking and rolling. Amazon works in a few ways:
1. Sellers can advertise their products on amazon and ship from themselves. (Very similar to eBay although listing is more strict resulting in less knock-offs)
2. Sellers advertise on amazon but hold all their stocks at a Amazon warehouse (called Amazon Fulfillment) where Amazon pack and ship along with their own products to combine postage for buyers. Also a bonus for sellers as they do not have to have any warehouses of their own keeping costs down.
3. Sellers can sell their products directly to Amazon and then it is shipped and sent by Amazon.
Hope this helps a little.
Yes, I read about the Amazon Fulfilment being introduced recently, I wasn’t quite sure what it was, but I am now.
I can see how that can be a big bonus to sellers, to have Amazon not only store their stuff, but also pack and post it. It’s a bonus for buyers as well, because it would be easier to reach the free postage threshold.
Thank you for the information Leanne, and I do agree with you, Amazon will almost certainly start rocking and rolling at some point.
I hope everything is fantastic.
Can permanent resident having SN/190 visa sell on Amazon?
I don’t see why not. If you Google ‘SN/190’ and go to the government’s page about this visa, then scroll down to the section about what you can do with this visa, it does say that you can work and study in Australia.
All you need to ask yourself is would selling on Amazon prevent you in any way from fulfilling your obligations to the state or territory that nominated you. So you just need to check to see what you’ve agreed to and make sure it’s okay to do it.
Thanks a lot, I really appreciate your reply and I am one of your blog enthusiastic fans that really adds great practical value to new migrants to Australia.
I must admit to being really really underwhelmed.. after all the hype (admittedly by the press and their competitors i was and still am disappointed.
In the UK Amazon was my go to place for just about everything including TV’s, printer cartridges and as you mention, the Christmas shopping ‘trip’ was a breeze. Even 4ish months on i barely even browse it for products, i have yet to spend anything on it other than kindle books (but that is still linked to my UK account anyway.
Maybe i’m looking back through rose tinted glasses but it doesnt seem like they’ve missed a trick; Maybe i’m not buying as much stuff now i live here. Maybe all my money goes on smashed avo on toast instead….
I’m not surprised, it is currently very underwhelming.
Even before I moved to Australia, so that was back in 2007 and earlier, I was using Amazon in the UK to buy all sorts of things. So we are a good 10 years behind here, but I still have a sneaky feeling that eventually Amazon Australia will catch up. Not completely, but maybe enough for it to be a worthwhile online presence for Australians.
Or should I say online presents 🙂 sorry
Maybe one day you’ll be able to get your smashed avo on toast from Amazon as well.
One of the reasons why Bunnings has imploded so quickly in the UK. Their endless racks of monkey wrenches and power drills are very impressive, but we browse an even wider range on line, order through PayPal and it’s on our doorstep 2 days later and cheaper.
I was in a UK Bunnings this morning and bought some seedlings for the garden, Amazon can’t cope with these!
Yes, Bunnings has been a disaster in the UK, I can’t see them lasting much longer. On the other hand, as I’ve mentioned, I can see Amazon getting stronger and stronger here. Not for seedlings though 🙂