Amazon will launch its Australian operation “very, very soon”, according to the firm’s head of Australia Rocco Braeuniger – leading one retail insider to predict the launch could come within the next two weeks.
In a much-anticipated summit in Sydney on Monday, Mr Braeuniger told a packed audience of Aussie retailers that the US ecommerce giant was almost ready to start trading, though he did not give a set date.
Ecommerce consultant and host of OnlineOffline.co Scott Kilmartin, who was present at the summit, predicted Amazon would start trading in two weeks, in time for the Christmas rush.
Mr Kilmartin told The New Daily that Mr Braueniger also revealed Amazon would be kicking off with a bigger range than originally expected.
In addition to Amazon Marketplace – which allows third party retailers to sell through the Amazon platform – the business will also sell its own tech products and fashion ranges.
“I believe Amazon would choose their initial lines on the data they have from what Australians are searching for and ordering from Amazon US,” Mr Kilmartin said.
He said by launching before Christmas, Amazon would be playing “Santa” for the Australian consumer, but “Christmas Grinch” for Australian retailers.
Earlier this month, the Australian Retail Association warned that weak consumer spending figures were a bad omen for retailers in the lead up to Christmas.
In the month of September, retail turnover was flat, following two consecutive months of negative growth.
“With Christmas not too far away … these figures are, in all honesty, alarming,” ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said.
“There has been a lot of change in the Australian retail environment this year, and with change comes uncertainty, but one thing is for sure, Christmas is coming.
“If Australians aren’t feeling wealthy they will spend less, and this weakness is an issue across the board.”
Amazon’s imminent launch has domestic retailers spooked, and has forced many to ramp up their online businesses.
Department store Myer recently announced it would launch ‘The Myer Market’, an Amazon-like online marketplace that would allow third party retailers to sell through Myer.