SPECULATION about the launch of global retail giant Amazon in Australia is growing following the leak of a company email suggesting it could happen as soon as this week.
Amazon emailed some of the 500 businesses that have signed up so far to participate in Australia’s Amazon Marketplace on Tuesday, telling them to ensure their pricing and stock is updated in preparation for going live.
The email, obtained by website Lifehacker, tells sellers it will start internal testing with a small number of customers from 2pm AEDT on Thursday.
“We are very excited to have you on board during this testing phase. Let’s Make History!” Amazon declares in the email.
A Thursday trial and Friday launch would coincide with Black Friday, an annual post-Thanksgiving online sales event in the US.
However not all market watchers are convinced, with one analyst telling AAP a launch this week is unlikely, although they were confident the global behemoth’s Australian operations would be well underway before Christmas.
The analyst, who asked not to be named, said Amazon has been doing testing with a small number of people over recent weeks and the email simply indicates the retailer is advancing testing.
Weber Shandwick, the public relations firm representing Amazon in Australia, refused to confirm or deny media reports the retailer’s launch was imminent.
A pre-Christmas launch has been expected from Amazon for some time.
Earlier this month, a report from Citi said Amazon could generate $200 million in sales in December following a rapid rollout of the number of items available on the site.
“We think Australia is likely to launch with traditional gifting and seasonal categories given the launch is just prior to Christmas,” Citi retail analysts said in a briefing note on November 13.
“This is likely to include a broad range of categories, including toys, electronics, apparel and outdoor.”
Retail consultant Scott Kilmartin, who has a background in e-commerce and has created an audio documentary about Amazon coming to Australia, said he is aware of three business owners – two in fashion and one in electronics – who have received the leaked email.
Amazon will stock its own labels plus private label brands, with products initially expected to be shipped out of a warehouse in Melbourne.
Mr Kilmartin predicts Amazon will roll out more warehouses in Sydney and Brisbane initially.
He said Amazon would provide a boost to smaller retailers who can sell on the mega platform as well as their own website but posed a threat to larger retailers like Myer, David Jones and Harvey Norman.
“Amazon is definitely going to make a dent with the novelty and the buzz factor in the lead-up to Christmas,” Mr Kilmartin said.