In a move that will send traffic to its Australian website, Amazon said it will make Australians use its Australia site instead of its larger U.S. site. The Australian site has a smaller selection than the U.S. site, but the change comes amid a new sales tax on imported goods, Business of Fashion reported.
While Amazon’s U.S. site has more than 500 million products, the retailer’s Australian site has about 60 million products spread across more than 20 categories. A month before the Australian site came online, 4.6 million Australians browsed the retailer’s U.S. site in November 2017. Even so, Australian shoppers face a new Goods and Services Tax (GST) on imported goods — a 10 percent tax on items worth less than around AUD$1,000 or $800 in U.S. dollars. Previously, the tax had applied to imported goods over AUD$1,000 as well as many goods sold in Australia.
“The government doesn’t apologize for ensuring multinationals pay a fair amount of tax here in Australia,” a spokesperson for treasurer Scott Morrison told Business of Fashion in an email. “A number of other countries are taking a similar approach and adopting a vendor collection model to collect GST from low-value imported goods.”
The news comes a few months after Amazon announced it was coming to Australia, notifying third-party sellers to prepare to accept retail orders in late November. According to news from Reuters that marked the first time Amazon gave a start date for doing business in Australia. At the time, Amazon already had registered sellers in the country, but they were focused on shipping goods outside the country. After setting up a warehouse in Melbourne, the retailer enabled local merchants to ship goods within the country.
Last April, Amazon confirmed it was entering the Australian retail market but wouldn’t say when. With the trial apparently happening on Thursday (Nov. 23, 2017), Amazon Australia was to be open and running just in time for Black Friday, the busiest holiday shopping day for U.S. retailers.