The “Australia tax” is a concept every Aussie gadget lover is familiar with. As Australians, we are expected to pay more for products than other places in the world like the UK or the US.
Historically, the reasons for this price difference were put down to a few different reasons. The weak Australian dollar, the diminutive size of our population, and the fact we’re a long way away from the rest of the western world were the standard excuses.
But with most electronics being produced in Asia – geographically closer to Australia than either the US or Europe – and the Australian dollar now entrenched above – or at least around - the $US1 mark, consumers are finding it more and more difficult to accept the fact we get charged more for the same products.
Not to mention that thanks to the wonders of the Internet, it is now easier than ever before to buy goods from overseas and get them shipped to Australia, often at a lower cost than buying it from an Australian retailer.
While that kind of philosophy may raise the ire of billionaires like Gerry Harvey, who will argue that the savings come from not paying GST on imported goods, the truth is that in many cases, it’s the retailers and distributors who drive up the price of goods in Australia.
But fortunately, things are starting to change. Last month, Apple adjusted its iTunes pricing for the first time since launching in Australia, reducing the cost for applications for iPhones, iPads and Macs. Considering we still have to pay GST on every app purchased, the lower app prices mean that we’re actually paying less than the US and UK for some applications.
And while the price drop has only occurred within the App Store and not the Music or Movie store, the licensing deals with movie and music studios are likely to have severely complicated any possibility of an Australian price drop.
Another company which has responded to the Aussie dollar’s strong performance is Canon, which earlier this month dropped its RRP for 95 different products, slashing up to $500 off the RRP of different camera products.
While it will probably never reach a consistent parity with the rest of the world, these recent price drops are a definite start, and much better than the not so distant past when we could pay twice as much for a product.