Amazon will restrict Australian shoppers’ to their local website from 1st July 2018. However, with lower prices and the option of installing a VPN (Virtual Private Network), buying from Amazon and other international retailers, will still be cheaper than buying goods locally.
From 1st July 2018, online retail giant Amazon, will be directing Australian shoppers to their local website, which offers a much smaller selection of goods for sale. Amazon’s decision to geoblock customers in Australia, is in response to new Australian GST regulations which will require international retailers to collect taxes on purchases under $1,000.
Under pressure from big box retailers like Gerry Harvey, the Federal Government has removed the GST exemption on overseas purchases under $1,000. While this will increase prices for consumers in Australia, according to the Australian Financial Review, even with the GST, it will still be cheaper to purchase goods overseas than buying locally from a retailer in Australia. So this change to the GST will not have the outcome Gerry Harvey and other local retailers are hoping for.
Furthermore, consumers in Australia will still need to purchase goods from overseas that are not available locally.
Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison said that this collection of GST meant $300 million estimated tax that will be used for Australians’ needs, and if Amazon couldn’t find a technological solution to apply the product sales tax in Australia, they could “take their bat and go home.”
However, Australian shoppers are still interested in accessing goods on Amazon and they are increasingly using technology like a VPN, to go directly to international Amazon sites.
“When Amazon.com launched in Australia last year, it was a disappointment to users’ high expectations – most of the prices were the same or even higher as local retailers, such as JB,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN.
“The current decision by Amazon to block international Amazon to Australians will have even more people flocking to technology that allows bypassing international blocks. It’s not fair that Australian shoppers must go with a smaller selection of merchandise and a higher price – which is the case in Australia on various online shopping sites. VPNs have been widely used for that purpose – and NordVPN’s user traffic from Australia has grown by 140% during the past year. We expect an even bigger growth from July 1st.”
VPNs redirect users’ Internet traffic into an encrypted tunnel and connect to a VPN server that can be located in any country of choice. That way, an Australian Amazon shopper can safely connect to the Amazon store in the US. It will appear that they are shopping directly from the US. 4.6 million Australians visited Amazon’s US site in November 2017, just before its Australian website was launched.
In addition, by encrypting Internet activity, a VPN protects online shoppers from tracking or hacking attacks.
In order to get their goods shipped, shoppers need to use such freight forwarding service as ShopMate, Shipito or Parci. These services will provide users with a US address and will then send a package to Australia for a fee.