Yeah, this year in Australian retail is going to see a very new dynamic in play.
Major bricks and mortar retailers in this country have been over looking the online market for quite some time, and with the rapid growth of local buyers choosing online, especially off-shore online as they're preferred purchasing option, they've been caught with their pants down to a fair degree.
This major shift in local retail has the potential to shake up a lot of areas, least of all our 1k free GST fresh hold on imported goods, not to mention our whole economy.
There is over 1 million employed in retail in Australia, that's a big number when we are talking about a population of 22-23 million in total. Who knows where all this is going to lead, but with the change that is coming to Australian retail, I'm not sure anyone can be sure as to the end result.
Of course the popularity in off-shore online purchasing in particular is a combination of a few factors, the most important one being the current strength of the AUD dollar. With that matching or sitting above parity with the USD at the moment. local buyers are making some killer savings, even taking shipping into consideration when buying from the US, not to mention Asia.
Those choosing off-shore online accounts to sell back into an Australian market are going to feel the squeeze when our dollar settles back into a normal market. As the US economy strengthens and they get their act together in Europe, more and more pressure will be put on the aussie dollar, and downwards it will fall. Back to 75 cents against the USD, maybe not, although most seem to suggest it will settle back under at around the 80 cent mark or just under.
Moral of story, Australian buyers should enjoy the savings while they can lol, mind you, doesn't look like our dollar is going anywhere for quite a while yet.
Very uncertain times lay ahead for retail in this country, both online and offline! I think we'll see a mix of major retailers entering the online market, some choosing off-shore, some choosing to set-up locally and some choosing a strategy of both with some off-branding marketing perhaps.
The ones that will be in the strongest position are those like Harvey Norman, who already have major retail outlets in other countries that they can develop a strategy to sell back into Australia through while our dollar remains where it is.