The best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are often from US retailers and are largely unavailable to international consumers. If you're itching to get your hands on a bargain from retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart and Newegg this Black Friday, there are ways to get around the shipping restrictions. Here are the details.
See also: The Best Black Friday Deals In Australia
Some US retailers won't ship an item to you unless you have a US credit card or a US-based address. This is where specialised services that help you buy and ship items from the US comes in.
US-To-Australia Shipping Services
Services like Big Apple Buddy, ComGate and Australia Post's ShopMate are designed to help you buy items locally in the US then repackage and ship them to Australia. They aren't the only companies that offer this type of service; there are plenty more out there that you can suss out. In fact, consumer group Choice has done a great comparison of some of the most popular US-to-Australia shipping services here.
For Big Apple Buddy and ComGate's shopper service BuyForMe, it's not as simple as just clicking "buy" on a product. You'll need to request a quote by telling the companies what you want to buy. A staff will then find the best deal for the item you want and email a quote back to you.
For Big Apple Buddy, there's a flat fee of US$50 for the first item and US$15 for every additional item. ComGate's BuyForMe charges a 5% fee based on the transaction cost. You'd want to use these shopper services if the US retailer requires you to have a US credit card.
If it's just a US address that the retailer wants, it's probably better to opt for freight-forwarding services. Both ShopMate and ComGate do this as well, and will offer you a US address that you can ship to. They will then repackage the items and mail them to you. There are some restrictions on how items can be shipped so make sure you do your research first.
Is It Worth It?
This really depends on the item you want to get, how good the discount is and shipping costs. For example, here's a short list of tech deals that are on offer through US retailers:
- Google Home: US$99
- Amazon Echo: US$140
- Nest Thermostat: US$199
- Nintendo 3DS: US$99
- Microsoft Surface Pro 4: US$600
For some of the items, it may not be worth buying it from the US. For example, based on the current exchange rate, a Nintendo 3DS will cost you just over AU$200 from Big Apple Buddy, excluding shipping fees. You can get a Nintendo 3DS XL for $249 at JB Hi-Fi in Australia. Granted, the US$99 unit is a limited edition version but if you're just looking for a cheap 3DS, it's a bit of a raw deal.
The Microsoft Surface Pro 4, on the other hand, will cost you around AU$965 excluding shipping. The tablet is currently being sold for AU$1999 on the Microsoft Store in Australia, which makes the US deal look pretty appealing.
Google Home, Amazon Echo and Nest Thermostat are all exclusive to the US, so it may also be worth snapping it up during the Black Friday sale.
But bear in mind that shipping costs can vary so make sure you check it and factor it into your total cost, decide for yourself whether it's worth it, before committing to buying. Also remember that you will be charged 10% GST on goods that cost more than $1000 when you ship them in from overseas.
If you're interested in checking out local Black Friday sales, we have a list of the best local deals here.