Black Friday sales have come and gone, and as of recently, these sales have now had a digital introduction, which has let online shoppers and international customers enjoy the fruits of the great prices.
And while we got to relish in these sales for one more year, will we be doing the same this time next year?
The 2016 budget revealed a change in international online shopping, enforcing a compulsory Goods and Services tax for all international sellers. Usually, international goods under $1000 have avoided the GST, but the latest budget will have that changed by mid next year. This means that the lower prices we have usually enjoyed will be no more, and the GST will be predicted to rake up millions more from the change.
The argument behind this tax is that local retailers are losing out when it comes to the competitive prices found overseas. Many international sites offer the same or similar products for a cheaper price, and local retailers are said to suffer from this.
The argument has a good point; many products available to us in Australia can be found at a cheaper price on online retailers, and some prefer to take the online-purchase chance over an in-store one. But the question stands, is this the only and most common reason for Australians to shop internationally?
The budget decision has claimed the digital age is having an unfair burden on the Australian economy, and the Liberal government want to change this. But why are we really turning to online shopping?
International shopping is not without burdens already, and this tax may only add to the nuisances of a digital world. While some stores may offer free international shipping when spending a certain amount, the time it takes for these product to arrive is far from ideal. And those other few find themselves paying ridiculous prices already to even ship something as small as a book to their house.
International shipping can be around $30 for most sites, with a lot of these purchases not even being worth that cost. And let’s not even mention the constant flux in currency. Shopping from the UK or USA is always a losing game, with the Australian dollar worth far less.
These annoyances that many deal with in shopping overseas surely aren’t worth the lower price that many are claiming is the case. Wouldn’t it be much easier to go into a store and purchase something you know you’ll be happy with?
The reason behind it then, is clear: local retailers don’t stock what we want.
There are countless labels, brands and products that are exclusive to other countries, and while this is expected to an extent, the limited availability in Australia is far too high, with plenty of retailers opting out of selling to us out of ridiculous costs. For those looking for obscure books, certain fashion designers and exclusive memorabilia, there is no other choice but to source it from an international seller.
So what is this GST going to achieve? Are we helping the Australian economy or further restricting ourselves from international culture? As of July, retailers who choose not to enforce the GST will be unable to sell to Australia, and those Cyber Mondays will be far less exciting.
It seems that this tax only wants to make it harder for Australians to enjoy the same products as other countries have access to, and will leave a lot of avid online shoppers unhappy.
And perhaps it will boost local purchases, but what it may do to our international access may be culturally worse.