Why isn't Amazon in Australia?

Amazon is pretty global now, but one potentially huge market that it has so far ignored is Australia. I wonder why.

Lots of reasons, but mostly, it’s NOT a huge market. The population of Australia is 22 million, not much more than New York City, spread out over an area almost the same size as the continental US. In short, it’s just not worth it.

I have got an Australian friend who is pretty upset by the lack of Amazon, because, as far as I know, there isn’t really an alternative.

You would think Amazon might choose to serve only, say, the three biggest Australian cities, or within six hours’ drive of whatever distribution hub(s) they choose to set up. Just writing off the entire country seems odd.

The population of New York City is 8.3 million. But there’s about 20 million in the NYC metro region.

Quick Google search turned this up.

No idea if it’ll actually happen, but it seems like Amazon already sells plenty to Australians. It just doesn’t have a local distribution warehouse yet. And even if it’s working on it, it’ll take some time. It took a few years before the Texas distribution center opened and legal challenges and such just extended the timeframe.

Amazon is not a logistical carrier. The only part of the logistic chain Amazon deals with is warehousing and customer interfacing. As we all know sales is interfaced using the Amazon.com domain.

Logistics carriers, primarily UPS and Fedex probably don’t have enough saturation in the Australian market to do daily business. This is probably most likely due the fact that Australia is only, what, 6000 miles from CONUS? The logistical routes most likely cannot cover the demand that Amazon traffic would create.

Furthermore, there are 5 international airports. The logistical costs of shipping a small package of widgets to anywhere in Australia would be exhorbitant.

I’m not sure that distance from the US, per se, is an issue. The issue is that it’s a relatively small market, far away from everywhere. That means they would need warehouses in Australia itself, like they have in the US, Europe, and elsewhere, and I guess the size of the market doesn’t justify that fixed cost. Maybe their business model requires *x *million people per major distrubution centre, and *x *is greater than 23.

Trouble is our three largest cities are >6 hours drive apart. The state capitals (and largest cities) of our Eastern seaboard, Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne are ~900kms apart. There’s not any sizable population centers located anything like equidistant between the cities either.
It’s interesting though, I recently saw some stats that Australian’s spent $7.6Billion AUD on overseas online shopping in the last 12 months. So there’s certainly demand there. The question is would having a local distribution center increase Amazon’s share of that pie? If not, the existing structure does the trick for the Australian market.

I don’t understand this whole thread. Amazon is a merchant, not a shipper. Is the problem that amazon.com doesn’t even work from Australia, or that none of their shippers will ship to Australia, or that they don’t accept Australian dollars?

Well, not all Amazon shippers will ship to Australia. Not all goods can be imported that way either. In addition, buying something in a foreign currency and shipping it internationally seems self-evidently not the cheapest, quickest or most efficient way to get it, if there were any alternative.

Australians do buy from Amazon a fair bit. I mostly only buy the traditional for Amazon stuff, books, CDs, DVDs. Amazon UK actually has better prices and shipping costs than the US for a lot of stuff. As for all the allied stuff, it all gets a lot harder.

Australia has different power than the US, so pretty much all electronics goods are out, unless they have a universal power supply, or are prepared to cope with power converters. European goods are OK, and there was a spate of people buying home theatre amplifiers from Amazon Germany, who had really good prices and good shipping costs.

The big problem for many companies shipping to Oz is that any shipping method with a tracking number comes at a serious premium, and so far as I know, all involve air freight. There is no cheap and slow way to ship to Oz with tracking. And most companies won’t ship without tracking. When you look at shipping from the US, you get quoted for next day deliver, or 3 day delivery, sometimes at a cost that exceeds the purchase price of what you want shipped. If you are happy to wait a month for it, and pay for sea freight, there is no way to buy it.

Inside Oz, a big problem is indeed still shipping. We have no local equivalent of UPS, and couriers like FedEx are extortionate. It can cost as much to ship a parcel from a receiving depot in Oz to you as shipping from the US to the shipping depot. On the other hand, our local postal service (Australia Post) is trying to reinvent itself as an internet purchase shipping company, so things may improve.

Amazon are here, but not as a retailer. Amazon Web Services have a facility in Sydney.

It’s possible that parallel import laws have something to do with it too. Amazon already charges higher retail prices for e-books delivered to Australian buyers, because (as I understand it) those laws essentially give “local” publishers considerable power to control prices.

If they were delivering books from Australian warehouses I suspect they’d be stuck buying from local distributors and hence paying higher wholesale prices.

The Amazon is in South America, not Australia. Duh!!!

Wow, there’s no books in Australia?

There are no big Australian online retailers of books. Or anything else, really, certainly nothing you could call the local equivalent of Amazon.

Fishpond.com.au - which I believe is actually based in New Zealand - tries to fill that particular gap, I think, at least as far as books go. But I, and most people I know, use bookdepository.co.uk for preference.

Fishpond is a dropshipper. They don’t actually stock anything, and their shipping times are often several weeks. So I don’t think they really count as an Amazon equivalent.

I think they’re afraid of all the dropbears and box jellyfish. The venomous snakes aren’t such an issue anymore as a lot of them have been bitten by the spiders there and have died.

I’ve bought plenty of stuff from Amazon over the years, including a Kindle a few years ago. I am in Australia.

There is some stuff that Amazon won’t ship to Aus, due to big companies having monopolies and insisting on price gouging Australians, but a large amount of Amazon stuff is available to Australians. In fact they keep sending me spam inviting me to browse their list of stuff they will ship to Australia.