A soaring Australian dollar and stagnate US economy have combined to create a sharp rise in US good purchased online, eBay Australia has reported.
According to the online auction site, the last year and a half has seen an increasing volume of US goods make up its local sales, driven by savvy Australian consumers in search of cheap consumer electronics, among other products.
“Over the last 18 months while the Australian dollar has been strong we have certainly seen an increase in the number of Aussie buyers buying from our international sellers — be that the US or the UK markets,” an eBay Australia spokesperson told Computerworld Australia.
“In the last 18 months Australian shoppers have become a lot more savvy as to the kinds of stuff they can get online from international retailers… Now that the Australian dollar is at parity [with the US dollar] you can expect to see another peak [in sales].”
According to the spokesperson, the downturn in the US economy had seen a number of US-based online sellers specifically target Australian buyers thanks to the strong dollar and economy.
“We have seen a lot of US retailers offering free postage to Australia or free returns and that is huge, and clearly that means there is an impact for our sellers in the US – they want to get a piece of that [Australian market] pie,” the spokesperson said.
Citing Frost & Sullivan research as evidence of this trend, the spokesperson said some 40 per cent of all Australian e-commerce spend was now on imports.
“The opportunity for international sellers both on and off eBay is huge because they know the purchasing power is here in Australia,” the spokesperson.
Responding to the increased online shopping activity, eBay had also launched an international fashion hub aimed at shoppers seeking US and UK fashion items not available in Australia.
According to the spokesperson, clothing, shoes and accessories was the most popular online retailed goods category in Australia, followed by consumer electronics, and home and garden items.
While Australian consumers are making the most of the high dollar, IT departments have been advised not to hold off on ICT purchases by analysts.