The Great Rip Off

thepop's picture
thepop started the topic in Wednesday, 28 Mar 2012 at 8:56am

Can some one explain it all to me. In 2008 the Aussie dollar was worth arouind 70 USA cents. Today its around $1.07 USA. Now, in 2008 a 4/3 wetsuit cost around $550-600 Aust. Today it still costs around the same price. Now I get on line and have a look at the good old US of A and today they pay around $400 US for the wetsuit that we today pay around $600.WTF? Have a look at fins, boardies, boards and all other items. We are being ripped off big time. Thoughts?

floyd's picture
floyd's picture
floyd commented Wednesday, 28 Mar 2012 at 9:34am

In a word, yes.

Good luck trying to bring a Rip Curl wettie into Australia; as far as I can tell that all stopped about 18 months ago, something about protecting local retailers. There are plenty of other wettie brands that can be still brought in but be early in the season before stock numbers for each size become unavailable. I know of many examples of overseas online retailers delivering the goods so no-one should worry about shopping on line for a wettie up to 1/2 the price you will pay here.

About a year ago a got an insight into profit margins on wet suits here .... when looking up stock numbers in a local shop the sales assistant inadvertantly showed me the cost price on a $567 wettie .... around $340 after GST which the retailer can claim back so around $300 bucks cost. The chump thought he was doing me a favour offering a 10% discount.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 28 Mar 2012 at 10:15am

Make eBay your friend. For example: Sanctum 3/2mm steamer, all black, chest zip. $150 free postage in Australia. Even if it lasts half as long as others you're still ahead.

www.ebay.com.au/itm/SURF-WETSUIT-steamer-SANCTUM-3-2MM-free-postage-/230...

Plenty of other buys like that to be had also.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Wednesday, 28 Mar 2012 at 11:03am

Australian prices have gone through the roof in last 5 or so years. I know as when I go back home to Oz, I'm floored at the cost of everything. I don't see the costs creep up incrementally, it comes as a hammer between the eyes. Example $3+ for a can of Coke. 100 yen or about $1.20 here. A good meal here (Japan) will run you about $7 and that's more food than you can eat. Last time I was home a quarter chicken and chips was $12. My mum sent me a package for my birthday- got it yesterday, postage $76. The same package 2 years ago- $55, as I still have the box. 6 pack of primo beer here- $13, $8 for the cheaper stuff.

I bought a 5mm Billabong SG5 online, brilliant wettie, cost me about $350 including delivery. Also, I bought a new pair of Asics running shoes here in my local spots shop. Cost me $60. I compared the exact same shoes back home in Oz recently in footlocker- $220!

I think Aussies are being scammed, I don't know how the working man does it there, especially families.

I agree with Stu, make online shopping your friend. It's the only way to go.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 28 Mar 2012 at 11:44am

Op Shops are my friend.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 28 Mar 2012 at 11:46am

Well, not for beer and wetsuits.

Whats the cost of housing over there Zen?

benski's picture
benski's picture
benski commented Wednesday, 28 Mar 2012 at 11:53am

comparing consumer goods like wetties, shoes whatever, to prices here in the US, it amazes me how expensive stuff is in Australia. Keating did away with the tariffs so it's not that.

Just thinknig about it now, I reckon a big part of it is the minimum wages. Wages for unskilled jobs like working in a surf shop are much higher in Oz than here. Minimum wage here is $5 an hour or so. Well it depends on the state you're in but that's about average I think. If you run a surf shop in Oz you're paying what, 2-3 times that amount? Whatever it is, a higher wage bill means a higher margin is required so that's gonna crank up prices.

With that in mind, they're probably not that different in price when you consider the opportunity cost (the other things you can buy for the same money that you're going without in choosing a wettie). A $300 wettie in the US is probably the same opportunity cost for the average surfer as a $500 price tag in Oz.

Oh and add to that the effects of the real estate boom. All the aussie Mums and Dads love it cos it's kept their house values so high but I imagine it keeps commercial rents sky high too. Conversely, there's a fair bit of vacant shop space all over the US which presumably keeps rents low which would help keep prices low.

So I reckon in the next 5-10 years before we see a wage correction in Australia, Aussie workers may be able to do pretty well by doing their shopping online. Course if everyone does that across the economy they'll probably all do emselves out of work cos the economy will probably suffer as a result of all the money heading overseas. But if we just keep selling our dirt and stuff to the world that'll keep it coming back.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 28 Mar 2012 at 12:02pm

Yep. I buy my wetties off the local surf shop. End of season ones with a discount.

I could get 'em cheaper online but I want him to stay in business instead of some poxy homewares or chain store setting up there.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 28 Mar 2012 at 12:04pm

Also the last times I bought online (fishing gear) I was slugged with customs clearance/IQS inspection bills down the track which took the gloss of the experience.
Still saved heaps of dough though......

benski's picture
benski's picture
benski commented Wednesday, 28 Mar 2012 at 12:10pm

Yeah that's it eh. That's the choice to make, hard to fight the tide of online shopping but if we lose that fight we'll lose the local surfshop. Then when you're doing your last minute packing for a trip to indo and realise you've got no tropical wax, you've got to rush to the nearest big city and buy some for $15 from City Beach.

Or you buy a lovely scented candle from that poxy homewares chain store that recently opened up nearby and try that.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 28 Mar 2012 at 12:23pm

Like Steve said, you can go online for cheap stuff or you can simply be clever. Buy steamers in summer, springys in winter. Hit up the factory discount stores. Find out where they're located cos they ain't all advertised on the 'net or Yellow Pages.

Anyone who pays retail is a mug.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Wednesday, 28 Mar 2012 at 1:32pm

Steve, transport, petrol and road tolls are expensive here. Electricity, water and gas are cheap. Hotels are as cheap or as expensive as you want, most include breakfast in the room tariff, many include dinner too. Accommodation in Tokyo is very expensive- a shoebox will set you back minimum $500 a month. I have a mate in finance who's dropping $15k a month on a pretty impressive apartment. I'm paying $600 a month for a nice, good sized 2 bedroom apartment in a good possie, 5 mins from the beach with a good mountain view and small ocean view. I'm 200k's north of Tokyo though in what would be considered the country.

Skiing/boarding is magic here, I drive up my local which is pretty impressive, $35-45 for a lift ticket and lunch about $10, include petrol and tolls and another person sharing the car and you can ski for easily less than $80 a day all up. I think a lift ticket at Perisher is over $100 now?

Anyway, don't get me wrong, I love Australia and always will, I'm just shocked at how much everything has gone up within half a decade, I'm thinking at least 40%. Boards are still cheap though and I get mine shaped back home. I have a couple of Firewires too and they were half the price as they are here.

I still support my local bloke, I buy wax, leggies etc from him but all big stuff I get online. My wife does all the shopping and apart from food, 90% is bought online, it's cheaper, easier and is at the door within a couple of days.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

mrsbradpitt's picture
mrsbradpitt's picture
mrsbradpitt commented Friday, 6 Apr 2012 at 3:51am

bigger range of sex toys online too

floyd's picture
floyd's picture
floyd commented Friday, 6 Apr 2012 at 10:01am

I want to make a comment about supporting the local surf shops.

I would have spent thousands of dollars in local shops over the years and frankly I have got sick of paying full retail or at best getting a 10% discount on boards, wetties and other gear. I have dealt with these guys for years, we surf together and know each other well yet the greedy hand still wants full price while being my mate.

Why would I pay full retail for a wettie when I can get the same suit on-line from the US or the UK for $200AUD to $250AUD cheaper?

This is what I don't get. We all hear about "sponsored" riders getting free everything and even insurance companies offer massive discounts for loyalty yet the local surf shop expects us punters to pay full price. Yeah fuck off. Not anymore.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Friday, 6 Apr 2012 at 6:54pm

Totally agree floyd, I got a Rip curl 5/3 e-bomb from surfmountain in europe last year for less than half price for what a 4/3 retails for here (when i say half price that include freight cost)nothing wrong with it, no crazy colours (all black)

Even when my local shops have end of season sales on wettys at 30% i still save heaps more by buying OS.

BTW. you guys do know you can get around problems by using a freight forwarding company, still works out heaps cheaper.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Friday, 6 Apr 2012 at 6:58pm

Donny Munro makes a good product out of Ballina.

http://www.triple-x.com.au/vmchk

mick-free's picture
mick-free's picture
mick-free commented Friday, 6 Apr 2012 at 7:28pm

Import through EMS. Its the chinese equivalent of Australia Post. You can get a 20 kilo box sent over for approx $80 - $100 US. Burton (Snowboarding) have the same problem. Next seasons gear are released mid way through the Southern Hemi season. Grommets can order next seasons gear and be riding in it before end of season. You need a US address for delivery as a lot of companies won't supply online outside US.

@freeride. The key is to order value of package under Aus $1000. That way it doesn't need to be cleared by customs - it just goes straight to your home address.

Did Kelly put a hole in his own image when he hit the nose of the board when walking up the stairs or was it Micks? 8.07 mmmm

Mick Free FIFOFOMO

thelostclimber's picture
thelostclimber's picture
thelostclimber commented Friday, 6 Apr 2012 at 7:47pm

Its not just the retailers making prices high, there are so many factors in particular transport distances, wages and insurance. USA and Japan are much bigger markets which means greater volume so cheaper prices.
But
I have recently dabbled in the import surf gear business and have absolutely no sympathy (or even much respect of a few) for retail stores and their current economic plight. Not all are bad, some guys are great, some mean well, some are just pricks, but getting paid your invoice is harder than getting to surf by yourself at Snapper rocks.
I have switched to buying everything I can online and save bucketloads. Last year at the end of the US winter I got an Excel 5:4 with hood and chest zip for $380 delivered. Not to mention wine, shoes, work clothes, baby prams and household appliances.
I have also given up trying to get my stock into shops and am now doing quite nicely on ebay and am doing quite nicely thanks. I get paid up front, post items the next day and have 100% good feedback. Its all so much easier and straightforward.
I see a future where the big brands have stores where you dont have to buy anything. You just go and try on your wetsuit etc then hit the web and find the best bargain.
The times are changing and you have to adapt to stay in business.

samurai81's picture
samurai81's picture
samurai81 commented Friday, 6 Apr 2012 at 9:18pm

Pff you have no idea!! Do you think its the retailer that makes the prices?? Its the manufacturer who decides what price the retailer gets it for. Why don't the australian retailers get say a xcel dry lock at the same price the US retailers do??
Wetsuits prices are slowly dropping in australia and you will soon find that wetsuits all over the world will come in around the same price.
Retailers cop way too much of bashing.

redsands's picture
redsands's picture
redsands commented Friday, 6 Apr 2012 at 9:23pm

I just bought a 5/3 quiksilver steamer from the US for 200 which included freight and they are still making money.The whole point with Australian retailers is that they have been found out.Overpricing for years has been the retail norm.Now everyone has a computer and can go online and see for themselves what items are really worth wholesale and judge for themselves what a fair mark up in price is.Never ever will I pay 500 bucks again for a 5mm steamer.

samurai81's picture
samurai81's picture
samurai81 commented Friday, 6 Apr 2012 at 9:41pm

Quiksilver sells that wetty to a aussie retailer for $250 and you expect the retailer to sell it for $250? Hows that work? What pays for the rent, wages, power, etc??

southey's picture
southey's picture
southey commented Friday, 6 Apr 2012 at 11:40pm

Guys ,

Benski's onto it ...
The minimum wage is the Problem here . Too many egalatarians .
And i ask this question , what price will we pay soon , when there are no retailers . Maybe the cost is different .
When many can't afford the essentials ( wax and legropes heheh ) because no one is employed in Aust . We just import everything ? .... We can't all work in Services and Tourism , and Deliveries/Transport .......

" SA's Reserve Capacity "

redsands's picture
redsands's picture
redsands commented Saturday, 7 Apr 2012 at 8:28am

Do you honestly believe that it costs $250 wholesale.I sell online myself although not wetsuits and I can tell you its way less than half that you think.If you really knew what a wetsuit or anything else is worth at wholesale you would be rioting outside your local surf shop.When made in bulk its all worth peanuts yet us Aussies are dumb enough to believe otherwise.

del's picture
del's picture
del commented Saturday, 7 Apr 2012 at 1:47pm

i worked in automotive retail for a while.. and cost/retail is amazing at times..

one product we sold for $113.. i could buy on staff price of $15..

on the other side of the coin.. genuince ford/holden parts have a much smaller price difference as the prices are dictated by the manufacturers.

all forms of retail have to make a profit.. pay the wages etc. its just a shame in the global market Australia is seen as being small there for everything costs so much more here

southey's picture
southey's picture
southey commented Saturday, 7 Apr 2012 at 2:15pm

Del ,

Don't half of the car mobs , have most of their parts / components made elsewhere ?

So that being said , they go thru two hands before they even get to the retailer ? I'm sure some surf labels are no different .

Yes Australia , tends be too small . In that there are far too many Monopolies. This place Breeds them far too well .

" SA's Reserve Capacity "

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Saturday, 7 Apr 2012 at 2:17pm

I'm not sure I buy into the whole smaller market thing. By way of comparison, Japan has a huge population but only a fraction of them surf- way less than in Australia. I would imagine by volume Australians are much bigger consumers of surf gear. Also, 2 of the big three are based in Australia. Shouldn't gear be cheaper within the country of origin?

Japan used to be regarded as expensive, not now. With the exception of boards, Australia is way way more expensive for surfgear than Japan.

Purely and simply, retailers in Australia have been taking the piss and people are finally wising up to it.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

roolf's picture
roolf's picture
roolf commented Saturday, 7 Apr 2012 at 2:42pm

Im no economist but isnt the price determined by what people are willing to pay rather than what something is actually worth, hence the real estate boom/bubble (depending on your perspective).

I am sure I read in an old Japan Lonely Planet guide that the price of a big mac halved as a result of the Asian economic crisis, the price of supply did not change, but what people were willing to spend there money on did. Australians are too lazy/complacent to look for better deals, this is obviously changing. but there are many factors as mentioned above, like the "too many egalitarians" minimum wage, but do we really want a five dollar minimum wage that hasnt increased for about 15 years lke America?

samurai81's picture
samurai81's picture
samurai81 commented Saturday, 7 Apr 2012 at 6:22pm

Redsands looks like you dont know everything. Turns out i work in surf retail and i know for a fact that $500 wetly costs the retailer $250, wake up mate.
Whats next?? Builders building houses at cost? 150% mark up on food dropped to 0% just cause? Petrol at cost??

redsands's picture
redsands's picture
redsands commented Sunday, 8 Apr 2012 at 7:32am

There is how many metres of material in a suit? Obviously Australian retailers are taken for a ride.Dont worry mate I am awake thats why i paid 206 not 500

redsands's picture
redsands's picture
redsands commented Sunday, 8 Apr 2012 at 7:51am

Here is the link to the store showing that we are all getting ripped including our retailers if retailers in the states can sell this,the wetsuit I bought is in here
http://myworld.ebay.com.au/pleasuresports-2/?_trksid=p4340.l2559

shaun's picture
shaun's picture
shaun commented Sunday, 8 Apr 2012 at 8:22am

Redsands it isn't as easy as all that, different countries have different tax systems, we pay a lot of taxes, but we do have a very high standard of living, the country would be a lot better off if all those online sales got charged gst as they came into the country.

I'm the scab you keep picking off and is there again the next day.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Sunday, 8 Apr 2012 at 9:48am

Don't know who is screwing us over but someone is big time, when i can buy both my summer suit and winter suit for less than my winter suit retails for in Australia.

If its not the retailer than he needs to work it out with whoever he deals with up the ladder because as long as i can save big $$$ on buying a wetty from US or UK i will and the retailer loses me as a customer.