Why Is There Such a Price Difference between Amazon US and AU?

Hey there! I am looking at some 4k blu rays on Amazon US that are not available here in Australia and I noticed a few things:

1) They all show the prices listed in Australian dollars(on the US site) and when I go click on the "Buy it on Amazon AU" button to qualify for free Prime shipping, it takes me to the Australian site(but still the US blu ray via Amazon US) and the price is inflated? I can understand GST and import tax but sometimes there is a $10 increase on top of a $17 item (In this case, Backdraft 4K Blu Ray). Why is that? Both sites show the item in Australian dollars so it can't be the dollar conversion.

2) Some items will have a $2 increase on top of a $17 item which is very reasonable(in this case, Total Recall 4K Blu Ray), but why the massive difference with the above point?

3) I have noticed some items cannot be bought via the Australian website at all. They give me the "We're sorry. The Web address you've entered is not a functioning page on our site." message. Even though the item cannot be bought locally via Amazon AU? Anyway around this without using a freight forwarder in the US? Shouldn't every item listed through Amazon US(not a third party seller) that isn't available on Amazon AU be able to be purchased and eligible for free Prime shipping if over $49 is spent?

Thanks in advance.

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  • +4

    Perhaps some items ship from Australia, and other items ship from the US. And they are charging you the price of the US distribution center vs the price of the Australian distribution center. It'll be the same product page usually, anywhere in the world in fact for most products, but if you bought the same product that shipped from the UK or shipped from Australia or shipped from the US, with all of them having different inventory capacities, different minimum wages on warehouse staff, different costs in electricity and rent, different amounts of jet fuel burned to get it to you, why would you expect them all to charge you the same?

  • +2

    It's because they can due to less competition. Take Europe for example, similar tax and wages yet costs similar to USA. You need to shop around.

  • +4

    I’ve noticed the same and have assumed they’re building in some shipping costs - making the “free” Prime international shipping over $49 not actually free.

    • Wiggle does this. Had the price of item jump between basket and checkout. Queried with CS agent, this was the explanation.

    • Definitely! It really sucks. There should be more transparency at least.

  • +4

    AU Tax.

  • +1

    This has frustrated me too. I don't think there's a straightforward answer, just typical ambiguous Amazon bullsh*ttery — whether hidden shipping fees as others have said, some sort of intentional disconnect in how their prices are converted, consumer marketing manipulation bs, plain old Australia tax, etc. Amazon have a lot of convoluted reasoning for what they do, and we can only really speculate.

    As for Amazon US stuff they don't offer/won't ship to here — they're trying to make Amazon in Australia into what it is in America — a local online retail giant where you constantly shop for your every need and it shows up within the week. That's where the money is, and they're playing the long game to get there. They don't want the image of Amazon AU just being an Australian storefront for their US business where you go to import American stuff on the cheap. If they made their full US range available through the AU site, that's what they'd rapidly become. They merely offer a few things from their US site to increase their appeal and expand their range, but undoubtedly there's a lot of stuff we'll only be seeing on Amazon AU when they've established Australia-specific supply lines and stockpiles. In the meantime, you have to buy it through the US site — honestly, build up a few things and the shipping is still pretty damn cheap.

    Oh, also, when you're on the US site, I'd advise going all the way through the checkout process to check out the final cost calculation of your order in AUD. It's often significantly cheaper than the estimate provided on the product page for whatever reason.

    Edit: Oh, and even without using your AU Prime Free Shipping, buying the same item straight from the US site rather than Amazon AU can still work out cheaper. I was looking at a laptop the other day that with import fees etc. was $2500 on Amazon AU. Exact same item on Amazon US, fees, shipping, and all, $2250. Pretty screwy.

    • Thanks heaps for the detailed answer, very helpful.

    • Hey, do you mind posting the link to the laptop you were looking to buy? I want to test my explanation on that to see if I'm wrong.

      Thank you

      • +2

        Hey, yep, here you go:



        You may be onto something as far as the different third party seller thing goes, but not about the cheaper option not shipping to Australia — the $200 cheaper option on the US site does indeed ship to Aus. However, the listing is "broken" — HIDevolution is a specific third-party business that upgrades stock laptops before shipping them out, and this listing is inclusive of a full quality check, new thermal paste application, and ongoing support from HIDevolution support staff. However, it seems like Amazon has treated it as a generic listing for the model of laptop because the listing's default seller (the one offering the cheaper-than-AU-deal) is "MadBargainzLLC", who clearly have no affiliation with HIDevolution. To actually purchase it from HIDevolution, you have to select them from the "other sellers" section of the page.

        So maybe that screw up affected the AU listing, though I have no idea how. It's frustrating they claim it's just being sold by "Amazon US" instead of disclosing the seller. I'd be pissed if I bought it through Amazon AU expecting the HIDevolution extras but just got the stock laptop from shady-as-(profanity)-sounding MadBargainz.

        (Side note: if you do choose to buy it from HIDevolution on Amazon US, there are no "Import Deposit Fees" added to the order and it ends up around $2000. Initially had my hopes up that it was a glitch/potential saving, but figured it more likely means you just have to deal with the taxes yourself once it reaches Aus.)

        • Yes, it seems Amazon doesn't collect taxes up front for units shipped by it's marketplace sellers (as it does for its own goods and goods fulfilled by them).
          I don't think Amazon would know if the item sold by HIDevolution is value added if they listed it under the same ASIN as other sellers.

  • +2

    TL;DR - the apparent price jacking on the Au site is likely due to the items being shown on the US and AU sites being sold by different sellers even though the Au site’s product page would say “sold and shipped by Amazon US”

    Long answer;

    I’ve also noticed the price going up compared to the US site when I’ve tried to buy through Amazon AU. However, this seems to be due to the cheapest option that’s shown by default on the US site not being eligible for shipping to the US. When trying to buy through the AU site some items show as being sold by Amazon US but in fact they’re sold by a third party but fulfilled by Amazon US. This happened to me for a set of speakers.

    The Backdraft 4k Blu-ray you may have seen on the US site for A$17.9 cannot be shipped to Australia. You can see that if you add it to the cart (on the US site) and then try to check out with an Australian address. There’s another seller 'Media Discounts' who’ve priced it at A$26.9 on the US site (which is fulfilled by Amazon US). This is likely to be unit that Amazon AU is telling you is being sold by Amazon US. The apparent price jacking on Amazon AU (at least in this case) is likely due to the change in the seller.

    This 14tb drive being sold for A$332 on the US site is A$366 on the AU site which is the US price plus Australian GST.

    Not all products sold by Amazon US on their US site is not eligible to be bought through the AU site.

    • Thanks heaps, that clears up alot! Really should be more transparency at least in terms of who is selling the item. Thanks again.

  • it is possible that oz has lower economies of scale and the us is a freer market than oz. even singapore and others may be freer markets. the costs of labour and overheads here also may be higher. politically, the leaders also have shown a preferene to support business against consumers across many industries. leaving aside the sports rotrts and community grant schemes which are blatant abuses of power. this climate may also influence business practice.

    • ?

  • There was a pretty good example of this price discrepancy with purchasing online Adobe software :

    "Before you decide to purchase Adobe software, know that customers are still being gouged on digital subscriptions, as well as physical software packs.

    The retail price of its out of the box, full software versions of Photoshop, Creative Suite and Premiere will remain as high as ever, the Australian Financial Review reported.

    The Creative Suite Master 6 Collection in Australia costs $4,334. The same software carries a price of $2599 in the US, Gizmodo reported.

    That's a $1,735 price difference.

    Consumer watchdog Choice noted last week that you could fly to the US to buy a particular piece of Microsoft development software and still save thousands of dollars.

    A return flight to Los Angeles costs $1147.58 on Virgin Australia.

    You could fly to the US, purchase the software in LA and fly home and it would still cost less than purchasing it outright in Australia.

    Adobe's communications manager Suzy Brady had nothing to say about why it was continuing to gouge Australians on prices, but said that the change in its subscription pricing for Adobe Creative Cloud "has been in the works for several months."

    Seems the Americans just like to rip off Australians : (

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