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…
Elizabeth wanted lots of things for Christmas, and one of them was called a SanDisk iXpand V2 32GB.
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.
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…
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.