Australians have been getting ripped off by big retailers for far too long and we're here to change that.
- Ruslan Kogan
Mention Hong Kong, Taiwan or Tokyo to an electronics aficionado and their eyes light up. These cities have giant malls dedicated to all things electronic. TVs, digital cameras, mobile phones – the list goes on, and thanks to the internet, they’re closer to us than ever before.
Ruslan Kogan, a pioneer of parallel imports in the electronics market, saw business sense in bringing these products to Australians at a discounted price years ago. Seeing a gap in the market, in 2006 he started up a business to fill it, and just five years later was listed on BRW’s Young Rich List with a reported fortune of $62m.
Kogan hopes the growth of online retailing will make large manufacturers more accountable for price discrimination.
“Australians have been getting ripped off by big retailers for far too long and we’re here to change that,” he says.
Kogan’s prices sit anywhere between 15-40% below the local RRP on a range of electronic goods, he claims. Canon’s newest entry-level digital SLR camera, the 600D twin lens package, is available on his site for $809 plus $39 delivery, yet retails in shops for up to 30% more.
JB Hi-Fi joining in
Retailer JB Hi-Fi launched its Direct Import camera e-tailer earlier this year in response to the growth of online shopping. The website provides consumers with the opportunity to purchase goods for less than their bricks-and-mortar stores are able to offer.
Its import price for the same camera is similar to Kogan’s – $835 plus delivery. This is noticeably cheaper than its bricks-and-mortar stores, which sell the same camera, imported through conventional supply channels, for $258 more.
JN Hi-Fi states on its website: “Global consumer electronic brands provide lower wholesale prices in emerging mark ets such as China and India than mature economic countries… These emerging markets also have much lower supply chain costs due to lower local wages, consumer protection standards and weaker regulation. This allows wholesalers in those emerging markets to offer these prices to overseas buyers at lower prices than a local importer in a mature market is able to achieve.”