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  1. #41
    polyglot's Avatar
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    "Casual buying groups" (and I did exactly that this week!) need exist only because stores aren't fulfilling their purpose of transporting goods cheaply in bulk and distributing them locally. When I can get a bunch of items couriered to me cheaper than I can get it locally, there's a serious problem with market distortions somewhere. If nothing else, I would have expected some arbitrage but I'm not really seeing it.

  2. #42
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    There's something going on here that we just aren't seeing. Any retailer, say in GB or in OZ could corner the market simply by selling at substantially lower prices than the competition. Retailers know this, there is no reason a Freestyle type operation couldn't be based in OZ, unless there are government obstructions. Left strictly to market forces, prices become competitive on a global scale, as retailers compete on a level field. I just can't get away from the thought that the GB and OZ retailers have to cross a government hurdle before they can bring their products to market. Certainly there is a shipping cost to be paid, but goods must be shipped to the US, as well. There are too many hidden taxes in the form of import duties, and tarrif, etc. etc; it can't be fun being a retailer in a country knowing that your customers can buy in the US, and pay for shipping, and still beat your best price. Oh, and Poisson Du Jour, the US Dollar is actually FALLING, not RISING, it is your currency that is RISING in relation to the US Dollar. There are reasons that governments manipulate their currency, i just don't think they get the results that they wanted... ever. (of course they're smarter than we are, they were elected, weren't they?)
    "We often think that when we have completed our study of one we know all about two, because 'two' is 'one and one'. We forget that we have still to make a study of 'and'."
    -A. S. Eddington

  3. #43

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    For perfect competition to work as in the definition given in economics text books you need consumers to have perfect market knowledge. Retailers charging way over the true market price rely on lack of knowledge and/or lack of enough interest by consumers.

    To give an example: In the U.K. some e-bay business sellers will advertise paper at prices way over the top and a page or so later you will see much better prices and yet the expensive sellers must check the competitors prices. The expensive sellers continue to charge their expensive prices and make no attempt to modify their prices. In the perfect competition scenario they should sell nothing but presumably they still sell some stuff because some consumers are still willing to buy at inflated prices.

    pentaxuser

  4. #44

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    Regarding puptent's comment, AFAIK, only 10% GST applies to the importation of most goods to Australia - additional import duties apply only to things like liquor, perfume, tobacco, clothing and certain motor vehicles.

    I think that the US has the lowest prices anywhere largely through it's population - 15 times that of Oz and 6 times that of the UK. That quantity of potential customers enables importers, distributors and retail chains who import directly to drive very hard bargains with manufacturers.

    The rest of us have to accept that the wholesale invoice price into our respective countries will probably always be more than into the US but I equally think that our local importers also add a much higher margin than their counterparts in the US. Retailers may also add more margin than they absolutely have to but the real villians IMO are the importers who, in the cases of Kodak and Fuji and many of the equipment suppliers, are also the manufacturers. Go figure.

    OzJohn

  5. #45
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    I agree with OzJohn. It is not government that's causing the problem in Oz, it's the manufacturers and importers taking a hefty margin for themselves. As OzJohn pointed out, they are often one and the same, and consequently are double dipping. To some extent the retailers are the meat in the sandwich, although I find it hard to feel too much sympathy for them. As much as I would love to see a Freestyle-type operation in Australia, IMHO the two major factors which would make such an operation less viable are lack of sales volume within Australia, and the still significant cost of shipping from one location to other parts of the country.

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by OzJohn View Post
    Regarding puptent's comment, AFAIK, only 10% GST applies to the importation of most goods to Australia - additional import duties apply only to things like liquor, perfume, tobacco, clothing and certain motor vehicles.

    [...]

    The 10% GST is not the full story on goods imported. If goods are being imported above the AUD$1,000 threshold for anything at all, Customs imposes a 5% Customs Charge on those goods plus freight cost+GST. That is to say that GST is calculataed by cost of goods+Customs Fee+Freight. So the final collection cost can be quite a bit higher than an assumed 10% GST impost (I paid an additional $185 for on a Canon 70-200mm f4L coming from Hong Kong), and many people are not aware of this. Read up on the Customs page here. In 2004 I think Customs came down heavily on eBay Dealers trying to avoid GST on entry on pricey items, and photographic equipment was singled out. After that, Dealers now must specify the GST-inclusive cost, but they won't always be up to date with the calculations of Customs charges.

    One possible ramification of the across-the-board increase in online buying in Australia is the demise of the local market. Film, paper, chemicals and whatnot would be seen as "not wanted anymore", when the real problem is Distributors pricing the stuff out of the reach of the Australian market when it is possible to procure it from overseas much cheaper — we all know that of course, but the Distributors and retailers persist with their silly ways. If film is lost to the Australian market, we might only have ourselves to blame. Just something we need to keep in hindsight over the long-term.
    Last edited by Poisson Du Jour; 05-21-2011 at 10:02 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Correction of Customs URL
    .::Gary Rowan Higgins

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  7. #47
    wotalegend's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poisson Du Jour View Post
    The 10% GST is not the full story on goods imported. If goods are being imported above the AUD$1,000 threshold for anything at all, Customs imposes a 5% Customs Charge on those goods plus freight cost+GST. That is to say that GST is calculataed by cost of goods+Customs Fee+Freight. So the final collection cost can be quite a bit higher than an assumed 10% GST impost (I paid an additional $185 for on a Canon 70-200mm f4L coming from Hong Kong), and many people are not aware of this. Read up on the Customs page here. In 2004 I think Customs came down heavily on eBay Dealers trying to avoid GST on entry on pricey items, and photographic equipment was singled out. After that, Dealers now must specify the GST-inclusive cost, but they won't always be up to date with the calculations of Customs charges.

    One possible ramification of the across-the-board increase in online buying in Australia is the demise of the local market. Film, paper, chemicals and whatnot would be seen as "not wanted anymore", when the real problem is Distributors pricing the stuff out of the reach of the Australian market when it is possible to procure it from overseas much cheaper — we all know that of course, but the Distributors and retailers persist with their silly ways. If film is lost to the Australian market, we might only have ourselves to blame. Just something we need to keep in hindsight over the long-term.
    You learn something every day. I was not aware of the extra customs charges over $1K because I have not imported anything over that value (but in total way over that ).

    There are some local online suppliers, e.g. lofico and blanconegro, who seem to be making an effort to keep prices down, although with limited choices at this stage. With regard to having ourselves to blame, I am sure, Gary, that you are not advocating that we should pay the outrageous prices asked by local shopfront retailers just to keep their businesses alive .

  8. #48
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    The bigger picture is the online revolution has profoundly affected the retail landscape in Australia. Shoppers do not need to visit Myer, David Jones or even Hardly Normal for what they want, when it is online. Retailers will continue to pressure the Government to get rid of the $1,000 GST-free threshold so they can compete, but I don't think it is achievable economically and administratively.

    Film is just one thing that could be lost from the Australian landscape. It's nice to see it all lined up in fridges — still — even if we're not buying it! Other retailers may — how do we politely say this — go 'belly up' because what was once purchased from them on home soil is now obtained much cheaper online.

    I do not advocate anybody buy locally if the off-shore online price is much better, and I'm showing no sympathy to any retailer whatsoever, specifically the exhorbitant cost of film, but also computer hardware and software, books etc, — two areas that have been hammered by online.

    The local online suppliers are a really good shot, but there is additional cost levied with postage, which leaves me a little off-side. I'd much prefer to pick things up by car, but then we'd be thinking of the petrol cost! Maybe I could collect it on 'Daisy' 'the mountain bike, but then there's costs there too — the obligatory Big M, Mars Bars and latté stops!! I cannot win...
    .::Gary Rowan Higgins

    One beautiful image is worth
    a thousand hours of therapy.


    "It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government
    to save the environment."
    .::Ansel Adams






  9. #49
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    Everyone keeps talking about computers as if they're the same as film. Well, they might be (in that they're often way overpriced), however there are small stores like MSY that have decided to move into that market and charge the same price or better than what you could buy online. They're vertically integrated retailers just like HN, the difference being that they have a bunch of dingy shops (no big flashy warehouse things with a bazillion salesdroids and display versions) in the suburbs and tiny margins instead of 200%+. I love them and I wish that someone would do with photo gear what MSY has done with computers.

  10. #50
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    I know the smaller markets and fewer economies of scale outside of the US play a role in the higher prices, and import duties and taxes, but there has to be more to this story than greedy manufacturers and middlemen. You'd think there would be a price war evolve eventually!
    If I had been present at the creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better arrangement of the Universe.
    Alfonso the Wise, 1221-1284



 

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