Amazon Australia will celebrate its first anniversary this week, but a new PayPal study shows local businesses are no longer concerned about its impact. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
Amazon Australia will celebrate its first anniversary this week, but a new PayPal study shows local businesses are no longer concerned about its impact. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Aussie shops reject Amazon threat

Amazon's big move into Australia appears to have been a fizzer, with research revealing two thirds of Australian businesses have been completely unaffected by its arrival, and the tech giant's threat to Christmas trade has plummeted down their list of concerns.

The findings, from a PayPal study of small to medium businesses at Christmas, arrives on the eve of Amazon's Australian anniversary and just weeks after the company backflipped on its decision to ban Australians consumers from its larger US store.

But retail experts say local businesses should avoid becoming complacent about the rich retail giant as just because they're "not feeling the pressure now doesn't mean it's isn't coming".

PayPal's study of 200 small and medium Australian businesses about their Christmas concerns found worries about online shopping rivals dropped from third position last year to just sixth spot this year.

Two thirds of Australian business owners also said Amazon's arrival had not impacted their sales despite warnings and predictions to the contrary.

The launch of the Amazon Australia website was largely branded underwhelming.
The launch of the Amazon Australia website was largely branded underwhelming.

PayPal Australia spokesman Peter Cowan said typical Christmas concerns such as cash flow pressures, shipping goods in time for Christmas Day, and letting down family and friends were causing shop owners more stress.

"This time last year there was a lot of talk about Amazon coming to market in Australia," Mr Cowan said.

"Now they've had a year of trading with Amazon, small businesses have reduced that concern."

The multibillion-dollar retail giant launched its Amazon Australia website on December 5 last year, in a launch that was largely branded underwhelming.

Gartner global retail principal research analyst Thomas O'Connor said "fears Amazon would arrive and dominate very quickly" had proven false over the last 12 months, and were further weakened when it stopped Australian shoppers buying goods from its US website.

But he warned Australian businesses not to ignore the threat that Amazon posed to retail trade in Australia as the company had a history of ramping up its offerings over time.

"Amazon is going to be continually applying pressure to the market," he said.

"Just because you're not feeling the pressure now doesn't mean it isn't coming.

"You have to be looking at what these giants are trying to achieve and look at how they've succeeded globally because it's a story that will likely replay itself in Australia."

PayPal's study also found 86 per cent of business owners felt stressed about Christmas trading, and 30 per cent did not have time to do their own Christmas shopping.



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