Among the presents I got for my birthday was a JB Hifi gift card. This always presents a challenge: what bargains can I pick up?
Browsing around the store one day, I found the two Harry Potter movies we don’t already have — the Deathly Hallows parts 1 and 2 — on Blu-ray, for $14.98, and on a two-for-the-price-of-one deal. Sold.
But what to spend the remaining $14.02 on?
Here are the prices of some movies and other discs that are on my To Buy list… with a comparison between Amazon UK, JB Hifi and Ezydvd.
|Firefly (TV series) Blu-ray 
|Doctor Who (series 5) Blu-ray
|Doctor Who (series 6) Blu-ray 
|Tintin(movie) Blu-ray 2D 
|The Slap DVD
-  Firefly was recently about double this price in Australia for the Blu-ray. It seems they’ve now brought it down to a reasonable price at last.
-  JBHifi online only lists the part 1 and part 2 Blu-rays of Doctor Who series 6, which excludes extras.
-  The Tintin movie in Australia appears to be only available on Blu-ray with bundled (but in my case, unwanted) DVD and digital copy. Amazon has this edition as well, at 10 pounds more than just the Blu-ray. In Australia, the 3D Blu-ray is another $10, making it around $60.
-  I’m not really in the market for this, but I thought I’d throw it in as an example of an Australian production. In Australia the price of the DVD or Blu-ray seems to be equally high. Amazon UK only lists the DVD; no Blu-ray.
The dollar prices for Amazon UK above are with the VAT deducted, and the £1.49 per item delivery cost added. There is an additional £2.09 ($3.27) cost per delivery, which is why most people try and buy multiple things at once, rather than ordering items one-by-one.
But even with delivery costs, some of these items are ludicrously more expensive buying in Australia. It’s not hard to see why people are importing — and also not hard to see that while some retailers want 10% GST added to imports, it would make hardly any difference at all — not when in some of these cases Amazon will deliver it to you for a fifth of the Australian price.
The rise of the Aussie dollar has obviously played a part here, but this isn’t new… it’s been over 60 UK pence for about two years.
And I’m not saying the retailers are necessarily to blame here, but something somewhere in the supply chain for these products is obviously very fishy indeed.
PS lunchtime. Obviously the price differential is quite different for various products and types of product. I think I actually got a pretty good deal on the Harry Potter Blu-rays, and I doubt they are cheaper via Amazon… this of course makes it all the more puzzling. Ultimately someone in the supply chain believes that Australians shopping locally are prepared to pay higher prices than our UK friends… that, after all, is how the free market operates.
By the way, unlike for DVDs, the UK and Europe is the same region for Blu-ray discs as Australia (region B).
PS 18/11/2012: I did eventually buy a couple of these yesterday during a JB Hifi “20% off DVDs and Blu-ray” sale. Firefly (still at around $37) went down to about $30, which is close to the US price (though still a bit above the UK one), and Tintin now has a new Blu-ray only edition retailing for $19.95. At 20% off that took it down to about $16. I also noticed The Slap has dropped to about $40.