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Chockstone Forum - Gear Lust / Lost & Found

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 Page 1 of 5. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 60 | 61 to 80 | 81 to 87
Author
Australian prices!
strerror
18/05/2011
2:33:35 PM
(I'm not affiliated with any services I mention in the post, they are just random examples that I know and have experience with!)

I've been lurking here and reading the forums for a while and I've noticed that there are a number of people that regularly visit the forums that run climbing stores and even distributors. I was wondering if you can answer the questions I have around buying climbing gear in Australia.

For those of you who know this and do it yourselves I apologize for the repetition, but it appears most people don't seem to know the following. There are now very reliable (i've used some myself on and off for about 5 years from both the UK and Australia) package forwarding services. An example is myus.com. You join up for a fee, and for that you get a full US postal address, including phone number, and discounts with international couriers. At that point you can now simply go to the online American climbing stores, order what you want and get it shipped for free to your US address (free shipping is ubiquitous in America). The package forwarding then strip out the unnecessary packaging (or leave it if you prefer) and consolidate multiple shipments into one, get the discount from the courier and send it to you. Currently with any purchases under $1000AUD in value there is no import tax, so as long as you don't pass that threshold in one hit, you're fine. The shipping itself typically takes UNDER 4 days from the US, the longest part of the process is normally waiting for the free shipping within the US to get to your address.

The above sounds all fine, but why would you bother? The reason is the absolutely MASSIVE discrepancy in prices between America and Australia which is the main question I have to the shop owners / distributors / anyone else that lurks here and who knows the answer. Why is the price differential so high? Typically the price differential is so high, that your very first purchase (anything over say $120AUD) will actually pay for a full years membership of a package forwarder and the cost of getting the item to you and still save money on buying it locally, subsequent purchases become a steal in comparison. Do a quick comparison on your favourite Australia climbing shop for say a size 6 BD camalot and have a look at backcountrygear.com as a comparison. No it's not unique it's one of a ton of places that sell it near that price.

I'm all for supporting our local shops, in fact I'd prefer to, but knowing that I can import something for under half the price of buying locally, it's hard to justify. Now I've been told that the price is already outrageously high by the time it gets to the shops, so are the distributors to blame? Is there a reason for this? I'm fully aware of all of the federal, state and local taxes that are applied to imports, but these add up to, ~20% at max for climbing gear to the best of my knowledge. Regularly I'll see price differentials in the order of ~100-200%

So is it just the case of Australian commerce milking us because they can and we put up with it? Or is there something I'm not aware of?

Moderators: Apologies if this is in the wrong forum, wasn't sure if it was best to be in here or the "For Sale"
citationx
18/05/2011
3:21:28 PM
I guess that in the last few months, after many, many, many posts on chockstone (including bombarding people who try and sell new goods with examples of where you can buy them online in the states) the local shops are actually bringing down their prices. The latest skyrocketing of the USD/AUD ratio in our favour probably hasn't been taken into account, but then hey, they buy in bulk once or twice a year depending on the products.

There are probably many other factors why people don't buy overseas, even if they did know about these forwarders. Laziness is probably a major factor, but things like "spur of the moment" need or "i'm a climbing bum living in the gramps" may have something to do with it. it may even be that these climbers don't really care about an extra $15 for a cam (i spend in excess of $30 a week on coffee alone).

Re: why are the prices so high? I'm sure there's a level of greed and being able to screw the locals over because they can, the person from S2S who was posting on this forum (from my hazy memory, i don't care enough to go back, find the thread and confirm who it was/where they were from) didn't actually answer why places like S2S and Paddys do markup the import price by 100% to make the wholesale price, and then the retailers slap another 100% of the wholesale price on top for the retail price. It has probably come down recently after the outrage, but I'm sure they did their market research...*cough* maybe that's why they've brought down the prices of hardware again of late, re-research.
Another issue, with non-hardware stuff, is that it may be hard to find a comparable product here for trying on.

Also, you've only been on for three posts and dont give any information about who you are. What gives with the secrecy?

nmonteith
18/05/2011
3:22:24 PM
There have been past topics associated with this with replies from Mountain Equipment and Sydney Climbing Gym staff. Someone with a bit more time might be able to find the links?

Totally off topic - I want to know why cars cost half price as well. A Subaru WRX costs $25k there and $40k here for example!
citationx
18/05/2011
3:25:50 PM
Neil, this was in the smh of late. Try:
http://www.smh.com.au/executive-style/motors/luxury-cars-why-do-we-pay-more-20110419-1dml9.html
but that hardly covers the.... luxurious scooby... :-)
strerror
18/05/2011
3:31:09 PM
On 18/05/2011 nmonteith wrote:
>Totally off topic - I want to know why cars cost half price as well. A
>Subaru WRX costs $25k there and $40k here for example!

Actually this one I can answer. As both a mate and myself have recently moved back home after living Overseas for a number of years we just went through the outrage of prices again recently. One of them was cars.

After doing the research it turns out that the fundamental issue with the car prices was that all the taxes (I can't remember the breakdown, but there are at least the following ones: federal, state, luxury [for cars over certain cost], and another state) are COMPOUND. That is, they all add on top of each other, not in isolation on the base cost. So while on paper the total taxes only came to about ~25% the compound effect was a large factor. The other factor was sheer greed as far as we could ascertain unless there are factors that we weren't privy to at play like cost of shipping, but that's hard to believe giving the level of shipping to Australia and the proximity to Asia.

nmonteith
18/05/2011
3:37:38 PM
On 18/05/2011 strerror wrote:
>After doing the research it turns out that the fundamental issue with
>the car prices was that all the taxes (I can't remember the breakdown,
>but there are at least the following ones: federal, state, luxury [for
>cars over certain cost], and another state) are COMPOUND.

Wow. That's awesome! I wonder who gets the dibs on the last compounded tax?
strerror
18/05/2011
3:40:47 PM
On 18/05/2011 citationx wrote:
>The latest skyrocketing of the USD/AUD ratio
>in our favour probably hasn't been taken into account, but then hey, they
>buy in bulk once or twice a year depending on the products.

that's a good point in their favour but the differences I'm talking about aren't even currency related, that is they are significantly larger then a few percent.

>There are probably many other factors why people don't buy overseas, even
>if they did know about these forwarders. Laziness is probably a major factor,
>but things like "spur of the moment" need or "i'm a climbing bum living
>in the gramps" may have something to do with it. it may even be that these
>climbers don't really care about an extra $15 for a cam (i spend in excess
>of $30 a week on coffee alone).

Laziness I get. I've also heard people say that they don't trust forwarders (bit bizare but ok), but the worse off financially you are, then surely the more incentive to get things at good prices? Also we're not just talking about $15. I recently spent about ~1.3k AUD (over some months) on climbing / camping gear for a saving of around ~1kAUD. A good example is my Mountain Hardware Drifter 3 man tent and foot print that I paid $160AUD for. See how close you can match that locally, in some cases I've seen prices at over 3 times that cost and that's without the footprint!

>Another issue, with non-hardware stuff, is that it may be hard to find
>a comparable product here for trying on.

Something I ran into until I learnt to trust manufacturers sizing and read a few user reviews on popular sites giving an idea as to fit.

>Also, you've only been on for three posts and dont give any information
>about who you are. What gives with the secrecy?

What secrecy? Am I meant to do an introduction post or something? :)

You want me to put more info in my profile or something? I guess I'm a little wary by default, I'm a security consultant by profession so I tend not to fill out online requests for personal information terribly accurately.

StuckNut
18/05/2011
3:42:28 PM
I think maybe market volume could also play a part? Australia has a very small population compared with US and other countries - they can move a larger volume of goods at a smaller profit margin and probably more efficiently(economy of scale) and still make decent profit. Here the volume is smaller, retail costs probably higher. I'm sure this plays some part in the price discrepancy?
turtlespit
18/05/2011
3:51:57 PM
Market size would have an affect. Shipping 1 million items from China to the US would gain some bulk discounts, whereas the Australian market might only warrant 10,000 of those items. Shipping costs per item to the US will probably be cheaper.

Also, minimum wages in Australia are high at $16+ per hour. Not sure of the US value, but the UK minimum wage is about 6 (around $A9.20).

nmonteith
18/05/2011
3:52:56 PM
On 18/05/2011 strerror wrote:
>What secrecy? Am I meant to do an introduction post or something? :)

Yes! It's nice to know at least a first name. We've had problems with spammers and shady journalists on this site, so i guess people will question a 'mystery' person plugging a few products or services.

cruze
18/05/2011
3:56:57 PM
Yeah Scarpa SL boots $500 in Australia, about AU$220 if ordered from US or UK.

I have been stocking up recently on stuff from O/S that I can't justify NEEDing (I can always justify WANTing), which begs the question if you spend all of your time researching the best prices on the internet and buying everything you can, rather than actually only buying locally what you NEED when you NEED it and getting out there and using it, then are you actually saving any money at all?

My wife just bought a 2006 Suby Outback in NZ (yep another WANT not NEED) for about 80% of the cost of the same car in Oz. And that is before the 4/3 exchange rate! It was explained to me that AU is protectionist of our local car manufacturing scene which is why we pay a lot more relatively for imports. I don't think NZ has any car manufacturing so to offset relatively meagre average income they make sure imported cars are priced low.
strerror
18/05/2011
3:57:14 PM
On 18/05/2011 nmonteith wrote:
>Yes! It's nice to know at least a first name. We've had problems with
>spammers and shady journalists on this site, so i guess people will question
>a 'mystery' person plugging a few products or services.

Well i'd like to think I'm neither, my name is Ben. I live in Sydney, climb 3-4 times a week at Climb fit and try to go outdoors every other weekend, mostly local stuff but just spent Easter at Arapiles, Grampians and Blue Lake.

Hopefully that'll do for a Turing test :)
strerror
18/05/2011
4:00:12 PM
On 18/05/2011 cruze wrote:
>My wife just bought a 2006 Suby Outback in NZ (yep another WANT not NEED)
>for about 80% of the cost of the same car in Oz. And that is before the
>4/3 exchange rate! It was explained to me that AU is protectionist of our
>local car manufacturing scene which is why we pay a lot more relatively
>for imports. I don't think NZ has any car manufacturing so to offset relatively
>meagre average income they make sure imported cars are priced low.

Off topic but on the car topic...

Australia also has another tax (one I left off in my reply to Neil) for basically protectionist reasons (aka Holden) of our own local car manufacturing. Not only does .nz not have that, but they also benefit from Japans laws that prohibit anyone driving a car older then (I think it's 5 might be 3) 3 years. All of these pretty much perfectly good 5 year old cars are then shipped to places like New Zealand and sold for nothing.Welcome to a inundated market of cheap nice cars.
citationx
18/05/2011
4:16:28 PM
On 18/05/2011 strerror wrote:
>On 18/05/2011 citationx wrote:
>Laziness I get. I've also heard people say that they don't trust forwarders
>(bit bizare but ok), but the worse off financially you are, then surely
>the more incentive to get things at good prices? Also we're not just talking
>about $15. I recently spent about ~1.3k AUD (over some months) on climbing
>/ camping gear for a saving of around ~1kAUD. A good example is my Mountain
>Hardware Drifter 3 man tent and foot print that I paid $160AUD for. See
>how close you can match that locally, in some cases I've seen prices at
>over 3 times that cost and that's without the footprint!
>
While this is all good and well for people that want to spend $1,500 on gear in one hit, my point was that people have probably already made large purchases for cams, ropes etc. I'm going to be very general (and include many of my own thoughts) but i'm willing to bet that a lot of current climbers already have 90% of the gear they need. They probably only need to replace a cam here, or a jammed nut there, maybe only a 5-pack of draws, or a new beanie. If you were goign to "overhaul" your rakc and gear, then sure, go nuts overseas. But i'm not going to go to the effort of replacing my number #1 camalot for $15 bucks, especially if i'm in the middle of a climbing trip in the gramps...

>Something I ran into until I learnt to trust manufacturers sizing and
>read a few user reviews on popular sites giving an idea as to fit.
>

I've read many reviews and found lots of thing lacking. I guess that's mainly because i'm not "short and fat" like all the "outdoor" companies tailor their clothes to. I have long limbs, but a slender torso, this makes it hard to get clothes that fit snuggly around my body but don't leave my ankles or wrists cold... Regardless, reading reviews i've seen people claim to be 5'9" that have an L fit perfectly, as well as a 6'3" have the same L garment fit...meh.

I guess my initial and most important point in my original post was the point that yes, importers are likely to be "greedy" and "screwing us because they could". I've seen it happen, but as mentioned, those representing the importers haven't ever actually explained why they need to add 100% of the import price to determine the wholesale price, and why they need to state the rrp is 4 times the import price... (maybe they have really inefficient stores with high overhead costs. likely, given the prime property used in Kent and Ltl Bourke sts...)

rodw
18/05/2011
5:19:04 PM
The best example of international companies ripping aussies off comes when looking at Computer games ......

...new game coming out in the US, Duke Forever is going to retail at $44.95, here in Australia its $70 AU...okay some might say yeah you have to ship product in taxes etc blah blah blah (they also used to blame Aussie dollar but can't use that one now.)
.....except...

...you can also buy this game on digital download via steam....on the same digital download platform its is the same price i.e. if your ordering from a US IP its $44.95, but if your credit card or IP is Australian its $70 AU...steam is a distributor only and there prices are locked in by the publisher to "protect" the Australian market and the extra money they can get....its got nothing to do with tariffs, GST etc...its all to do with a closed market that allows companies to stop parallel imports thus stifle competition.....

.....Im all for the paying of GST on imports as long as that means Australian companies can compete internationally and source directly from overseas...once you have true competition distributors here will have to compete and prices get closer to parity. I think however govt isn't inclined to allow this as they will get hit buy the companies that profit in the form of a smear campaigns etc on how it will cost jobs etc...so in the end the consumer and end retailers in Australia just gets screwed.

jezza
18/05/2011
5:42:13 PM
So how many companies distribute, for example, Black Diamond in Australia? 1 (AFAIK).
For that reason, if you're a retailer, you're pretty screwed aren't you? I can't understand why sole distributor arrangements are legal here.

nmonteith
18/05/2011
5:51:44 PM
how about Apple products.

apple.com.au - Apple TV in Australia $129
apple.com - Apple TV in America $99

And our dollar is worth 10% more??! This gear is made almost on demand. No excuse for saying they buy their stock a year in advance - blah blah blah.

The good Dr
18/05/2011
6:32:42 PM
On 18/05/2011 nmonteith wrote:
>how about Apple products.
>
>apple.com.au - Apple TV in Australia $129
>apple.com - Apple TV in America $99
>
>And our dollar is worth 10% more??! This gear is made almost on demand.
>No excuse for saying they buy their stock a year in advance - blah blah
>blah.

Probably pretty easy to work that out. Say apple mark up 50% in store, and the raw cost is about $66. Import to Aust Pay duty of 10% on electrical goods = $72.60. Add additional import costs (shipping, insurance, custom agent fees etc, storage and Aust distribution) say add $2 per unit = $74.60. 50% mark up = $111.90, add GST = $123.09. Not far off $129.


cruze
18/05/2011
7:22:10 PM
Are they made in the US?
james
18/05/2011
7:46:22 PM
>Not only does .nz not have that, but they also benefit from Japans laws
>that prohibit anyone driving a car older then (I think it's 5 might be
>3) 3 years. All of these pretty much perfectly good 5 year old cars are
>then shipped to places like New Zealand and sold for nothing.Welcome to
>a inundated market of cheap nice cars.

I thought the real reason was that Japanse banks etc won't finance cars older than 5 years. I think they have pretty strict emissions testing also.

These grey imports do make it to Australia also but there is a pretty small yearly quota on them. My guess is whoever imports them to Aust makes a killing! Cheap imports & it can be sold at Australian prices.

But whatever... I try buy locally where possible (I check locally every time). But when the local store doesn't have something in stock & can't tell me how long to get it in.... why shouldn't I go online, pay 1/3 the price & have it next week anyway?
The Australian market will have to realise sooner or later that the game has changed & will have to adjust. Change is the only constant.


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