If you have been tracking top deals on TopBargains lately, you would know that 2011 was the year of bargains. In 5 years since 2007 when TopBargains started operations, we have never seen such huge drops in prices across all categories. Australian prices fell to the extent that sometimes it didn't make any sense buying stuff even from overseas websites at least for computers & technology products. These huge reductions were a result of many factors including strong Australian dollar in the middle part of the year, a huge increase in new on-line retailers, foreign investors buying stakes in Australian on-line retail stores and big retailers such as Harvey Norman and DickSmith fighting for their survival in this new marketplace.
We knew this was a bad time for retail sales and RBA has just released December retail sales figures which confirm that Australian retailers faced their worst slump in almost 30 years. A couple of chains have already shut their doors and things are not looking good for many others. As far as we know, this new year has not started well either for many Australian retailers including online retailers and more challenges are coming their way. There have been rumours about Amazon setting up Australian warehouses and most UK/US large online retailers have now started shipping directly to Australia at a fraction of price being charged by Australian retailers. Suddenly, our 'small economy' retailers have been exposed to volume efficiencies of large US retailers - this is almost similar to the effect of a newly opened Woolworths on small family businesses in a rural town.
This is not all bad news because this new paradigm shift means Australian consumers are getting access to better quality brand name products at a much lower price than what they paid to Australian retailers for much inferior products. Our retail enjoyed a long time of immunity from global trade disruptions due to our geographical distance from trading hubs of Europe and US but the new trade hubs of Asia have erased that completely.
For next few months and possibly years, there will be plenty of bargains everywhere as Australian retail industry reshuffles to address all these challenges. Make sure that you are taking advantage of these deals while they are around and keep checking our latest deals section on TopBargains.