Australian consumers now realise it is far cheaper to order their own goods from overseas online, than to pay for the excessive mark-ups in the nation’s stores. Soon enough those intelligent buyers will become the majority of the country’s shoppers, so long as exorbitantly priced goods remain on shop floors.
AUSTRALIANS are being ripped off. There I said it. We’re being short changed because, well, I’m not quite sure. But it irks me, and as petulant as it may seem, clothes are one of the things that frustrate me most.
The latest Australian Shopping Intent Report by AMP Capital Shopping Centres claimed nearly a third of the world’s largest retailers have a home in Australia, with more on their way.
Underpinning their decision to move Down Under is the fact that while online shopping continues to rise in importance, the nation’s consumers still want the ability to browse in shopping centres.
Nothing new there. But is there?
The Hard Word was always against the idea of online shopping. It wasn’t technophobia. It enjoyed the experience of retail therapy, as much as a member of the not so fairer sex can. We preferred to walk the shops, speak to the less-annoying shop attendants, feel the fabric and assess the size and shape of t-shirts, jeans, shoes and suits.
We never saw shopping on the internet as a past-time for the more intelligent and thrifty buyer. And while we’re more than happy now to admit that online shopping is now a force to be reckoned with, this scribe had been reluctant to give in to its many advantages.
Until now. Despite the survey, as far as I’m concerned physical stores do not have a future in Australia. I’ve written in the past about how Australia’s high streets have been ruined by monolithic concrete jungles. But their success isn’t entirely restricted to retail. Or at least it shouldn’t be.
Australians are being treated like mugs at the checkout by all major clothing labels. I’m not talking about the high-end labels, rather the ever-increasing list of labels that seek to appeal to the country’s expanding middle class.
Labels that think it’s OK to charge you up to $100 for a t-shirt, that is not made from specs of gold dust but made from exactly the same material as every other t-shirt ever made (it just features an unoriginal print and comes with a ‘recognisable’ brand name). Labels that insist on charging you up to $1000 for a suit that is, again, mostly made from exactly the same fabric as every other suit. Jumpers, sweaters, dresses, shoes, everything for both men and women is excessively overpriced in Australia.
Yes some London retail shops have some of the most ridiculously overpriced items of clothing (some of the stuff in Liberty, for example, is out of this world). But (love them or loathe them) shops like Zara, H & M,Topshop all sell reasonable stock at more than reasonable prices. Even more expensive stores still stock items that when compared to Australian dollars just don’t add up. While two of these stores brands have already opened stores in Australia, the problem remains.
There are numerous examples of this ludicrous difference between prices of certain things here far outweighing the price of the same products in Australia, food is another.
I’m not convinced by the argument that says it’s because Australians earn a far higher average salary than the British. Earning a far smaller wage in Britain means everything is inevitably cheaper. Many say it’s all relative.
Of course, like everything, these items need to make the long journey down to the southern hemisphere from whence they came. But bearing in mind a lot of these clothes are actually made in countries much closer to our fair shores than the UK, is that the only reason why Aussies are forced to pay so much for clothes that cost next to nothing to produce?
Consumers now realise it is far cheaper to order their own goods from overseas online, than to pay for the excessive mark-ups in Australian stores. Soon enough those intelligent buyers will become the majority of the nation’s shoppers, so long as exorbitantly priced goods remain on shop floors.