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Australia Number Two International Market for US Retailers

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Sure to add more fuel to the fire of the GST debate, US retailers Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s are making public their intentions to target the ‘favourable’ Australian market.

It’ll send shivers down the spines of small retailers and boil the blood of the large retailers in Australia. In a recent interview with Investors.com, Michael DeSimone, CEO of global e-commerce services company FiftyOne, said his business is booming as more US retailers look offshore for growth.

The US online retail growth curve is flattening out, and as reported by Forrester last year, the next big frontier for US retailers lies beyond its borders, with Australia a prime target.

“Australia is No. 2 [market behind Canada], driven by the strength of the Australian economy and the currency,” DeSimone told Investors.com. “They also have a very nice tax-free rule of up to 1,000 Australian dollars for goods that are imported from online sales, which is very friendly to companies like ours. Our third-biggest market is the UK. It’s not surprising that our top three markets are English-speaking. Most of our merchants have not translated their websites.”

Macy’s embraces international shoppers not only with a custom welcome page depending on the market, but an offer to gain 10% off in-store for international visitors – one I took advantage of during my recent visit to San Diego for the Power Retail US Learning Tour.

Australian retailers, particularly in apparel, are in for more pain from the likes of ASOS, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and others openly targeting Australian shoppers. Yet according to our current poll in the sidebar at the time of writing, the vast majority of readers either don’t care or don’t support the lowering of the GST threshold on imports.

What are your thoughts? Have your say here, and cast your vote as a member of the online and multichannel retail community in our poll at right.

Grant Arnott

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Grant Arnott is publisher of Power Retail. Other hats include Co-Founder of Click Frenzy, Global Head of The Media Pad, and adoptive father of a fast-growing Golden Retriever. Grant has a specialist business publishing background spanning more than a decade, and contributes regularly to a multitude of print and digital business media. Follow Grant on Twitter and Google+ or connect with him through LinkedIn

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5 Comments

  • It is interesting that US brands such as ASOS, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s have taken this long to target the Australian market. In our smaller market of posters, prints and online framing, the major US players launched an aggressive Australian marketing campaign with a .com.au domain, payment in Australian dollars and metric sizes about 18 months ago. If our industry is typical, watch out! The impact of regionalised web sites had an immediate and significant impact.

    Reply
  • I really don;t think the tax is the issue. Even if the Govt was to add the GST many overseas goods would still be more then 50% cheaper.

    I mean you can get books from Amazon for $10-$20 which cost $50-$80 from a local store.

    An extra $2 GST is not going make any difference.

    Reply
  • Pandoras box, so to speak, has been opened. It would be impossible to close it now.

    Sorry to say but the choice in clothing here (particularly for men) is not good in price, quality and design. You have to see the USA range to understand.

    Reply
  • I agree with Mark’s comment. I think most Aussies would pay 10% more, particularly on smaller items, to buy from an Australian site.

    Reply
    • PS
    • 22nd July

    Steven, I don’t think you understand Mark’s comment. I believe what he’s saying is that because goods are significantly cheaper from a US e-tailer (and according to Colin, quality is higher as well) that the additional VAT will not deter the Aussies from buying from US websites.

    Reply

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