Another outlet for Australian shoppers looking to save is the heavily discounted online-only retailers who primarily deal in parallel import (also called grey market) personal care and cosmetics. These products may be close to expiry date, left over from a discontinued line or be part of excess inventory that the manufacturer is looking to move quickly.
“Australians are prime candidates for the grey market because of local costs,” says McKellar. “While there is some grey market activity in the UK and US, it’s nowhere near as prevalent.”
Popular online retailer Strawberrynet.com stocks discounted goods, offers free shipping with no minimum spend, and carries a wide range of well-known international brands. McKellar says Australians are one of biggest users of the Hong Kong-based site.
Despite the advantages of parallel imports, it’s important to note that that some stock can be close to expiry date, and due to the nature of the grey market you may be quite limited in terms of choice. McKellar says online retailers such as Strawberrynet are for a very particular consumer: “they know exactly what they want, they aren’t looking for advice, and they just want the product with no bells and whistles”.