Amazon’s Foray Into Australia Brings Both Excitement and Fear

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Amazon's Jeff Bezos.
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Australia managed to make it through 2017 with no Amazon service — until today.

Following months of speculation that Amazon would soon be coming to the country, the e-commerce giant today launched Amazon.com.au. The retailer now ships products such as electronics, clothes and footwear throughout Australia, in some cases offering more competitive prices than physical stores — a trend that has bolstered its popularity in the U.S.

Amazon enters Australia nearly two decades after founder Jeff Bezos launched the company in Seattle. As part of its launch strategy, the antipodean branch will focus on highlighting local vendors and offer free shipping on orders of more than 50 Australian dollars.

“By concentrating on providing a great shopping experience and by constantly innovating on behalf of customers, we hope to earn the trust and the custom of Australian shoppers in the years to come,” Amazon Australia country manager Rocco Braeuniger said in a statement.

Mirroring concerns of many in the U.S., some Aussies worried that Amazon’s rise to prominence would sink physical stores. But by the end of Tuesday, local newspapers reported that some found that the prices on the new site were at times higher than in physical locations — in particular, when it came to premium electronics and brand-name shoes.

That said, Amazon’s foray Down Under has not gone unnoticed in its economy — stocks of the country’s chief department store, Myer Holdings, have dropped more than 30 percent since April.