Amazon Australia Turns 1: A Year in Review.

Today marks 1 year since Amazon Australia launched Down Under. Anticipation was at an all-time high, but the million-dollar question circling today is whether the retail giant has lived up to the initial hype.

In the lead-up to Amazon’s entrance into the Australian market, the vast majority of the conversation was geared towards telling Aussie retailers to brace themselves for the worst. Given the size and dominance of company, it only seemed right to fear that Amazon would disrupt the local marketplace and drive small retailers into further turmoil. Yet while Amazon has established themselves as a strong and ever-growing competitor, it hasn’t left as big of a sting as expected.

The overwhelming response to the launch was instead largely plagued by disappointment, with many customers voicing how they were not impressed with the offering at the time. Amazon has announced that it has since grown the selection available on the Australian store five-fold since its first launch to nearly 100 million products across 29 categories. In this time, the company has also introduced Amazon Prime, provided digital assistant Alexa with an Australian accent, launched its third-party logistics solution, Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA), and run its first Australian Black Friday sale event. It’s safe to say that customers are growing fonder of the Australian platform, however it still falls short in comparison to the US equivalent.

Numerous major retailers, namely Woolworths, are becoming increasingly worried about the cheaper prices they are delivering to customers. Inside Retail set out to talk to brands and retailers that have listed products on the site and were met with largely mixed reviews. For some the change has seen a significant drive in sales, however for others their sales have been insignificant so far compared to selling on their own website or eBay.

What we can conclude from this mixed bag of emotions among retailers and customers is that Amazon Australia hasn’t quite hit the superior experience bulls-eye yet. For every customer and retailer that is impressed and extremely pleased with the Amazon service, it’s easy to find another who is unconvinced or underwhelmed by the service.

There’s no denying that Amazon Australia is continuing to grow and evolve as it acquires more influence and familiarity in the minds of Aussie customers, and this will surely give the company a chance to take an even bigger bite of the Australian online market. For a company that has captured nearly 50% of the US ecommerce market, we know they are just getting warmed up.

We will be eager to watch this evolution as the next year unfolds.