The strength of the Australian dollar has been a sore point for many companies and freelancers in the country over the past few months, with the currency going well beyond parity and hitting as high as US$1.10.
While television news anchors report on news of the strong dollar with a smile on their face, the reality is that it hits hard, taking big chunks of income from our large base of freelancers operating with clients abroad and large companies alike.
But importing retailers haven’t been passing on the significant savings they’re enjoying, and are instead sitting on higher profit margins than they’ve ever enjoyed before. In keeping with pre-parity history, Choice reports that Xbox and Playstation games still cost 91% more in Australia (Rockstar Games’ recent release, L.A. Noire, goes for about $110, or US$117), and albums on the Australian iTunes Store cost 73% more than their US counterparts.
Despite the fact that there’s no extra expense in distributing digital goods internationally, digital retailers such as Apple haven’t budged any more than physical importers have.
Choice has also made a submission to the Productivity Commission, which is investigating this disparity in the retail sector, which can be viewed here (PDF).