Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Resources for Wisconsin companies wanting to sell into Australia

The Australian e-commerce sector has seen a surge in purchasing due to lockdown restrictions in 2020 that forced consumers online.

Prior to the pandemic, Australia was already seeing steady adoption of e-commerce platforms, with 73% of Australians making online purchases in 2018, but market penetration still lagged behind other international markets. This is thought to be partially due to the difficulty of serving Australia’s population, which is small and spread over a large land mass. In most cases, consumers were still finding in-store purchases more convenient than waiting for deliveries from online stores.

According to AdNews, in April 2020 e-commerce platforms saw 200,000 new online shoppers, of which one-third made more than one purchase. In March and April 2020, spending on e-commerce platforms saw a 29% month-to-month increase, with categories in health and home seeing a particularly significant increase in sales.

Wisconsin exporters selling domestically through e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and eBay may find success by marketing to an Australian audience by marketing and selling to Australian customers through regional platforms eBay Australia and Amazon Australia. Other Australian e-commerce sites worth a look for Wisconsin exporters include Catch, My Deal and Kogan.

With regard to listing and managing shipping and logistics, exporters can opt to list and ship direct from the U.S., use Amazon FBA and/or partner with local 3PL companies. Shipping to Australia can be expensive for individual product sales, especially low-value items, so exporters could also consider appointing one or more local resellers with an established e-commerce presence to buy and sell into the Australian market on your behalf.

Wisconsin exporters wishing to sell via e-commerce platforms in Australia should keep in mind the local goods and services tax (GST). This is a broad-based tax of 10% applied to most goods and services sold in Australia and is included in the price for consumers upon purchase. There are two main types of GST that foreign businesses should be aware of: GST on low-value imported goods and GST on imported services and digital products. Details about who is responsible for collecting and paying GST is outlined on a case-by-case basis on the Australian Taxation Office website.