CommSec Chief Economist Craig James must have been looking at Sony pricing for their TV’s and PS3 consoles, when he urged Australians to shop overseas because of price gouging in Australia by technology vendors.
Using the CommSec iPod index he said that Australia has slipped eight places since June 2009 and is now the 13th cheapest place to buy an 8 GB Apple iPod nano, yet despite the drop in price, manufacturers had failed to pass on price cuts.
CommSec said that Australia’s currency has rocketed from 63 US cents in March this year to about 91.5 US cents today, James said, but local retailers and importers have not necessarily dropped their prices.
In an interview with ChannelNews he urged consumers to turn to overseas web sites in the UK and the USA to buy their technology gadgets as opposed to shopping at local retailers like Harvey Norman, JB Hi Fi or the likes of Bing Lee or The Good Guys.
James said “Enough is enough, the Gen y and Gen X consumer is web savvy and they are going to start shopping online for their goods because of the high prices in Australia. A lack of competition in Australia with a limited number of retailers controlling a market is not good. The Harvey Norman’s of the world have got to re think the way that they sell to consumers today”.
H3e added “Prices are cheaper in the USA and the decline in the dollar has not been passed on in Australia. Consumers can save hundreds of dollars in some cases by shopping online. It all has to do with currency movements. The Aussie dollar has strengthened against most currencies, but the local price of an Apple iPod nano for example hasn’t shifted”.
An investigation by ChannelNews shows that a Sony PS3 console in the USA is $328 Vs $499 in Australia. The new Sonos S5 sells in Australia for $799 Vs $439 in the USA. The GenevaSound XL iPod dock sells in the USA for $2,100 while in Australia the price is a staggering $3,499.
Among the major vendors who price gouge is Sony who are trying to sell an 11″ Sony OLED TV in Australia via their Sony Central stores for $6,799. The same product is selling in the USA for $2,417.
James said “The question now is whether local prices should fall to reflect the stronger currency. It is now cheaper for Australians to buy iPods overseas in the US, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan.
It is not just Apple that has to review its pricing in Australia it is a question that all importers and retailers must ponder. If the Australian dollar continues to soar and local pricing isn’t adjusted, then savvy Australian consumers will weigh up the value of purchasing goods on the internet or on their holidays overseas”.
“In US dollar terms the price of an 8GB iPod Nano has lifted from US$132 to US$182 – an increase of 38%” he said.