Government claimed that the airport duty hike to 35% was to protect retailers. The above chart pulled from the retail sales index reports demonstrates that this is an unfounded argument. If overseas purchases were the cause for retail sales declines then why are they down year over year just like retail?
Frustratingly, we simply don’t make decisions based upon the statistics. Retailers are busy trying to convince government to hike duty for personal imports to 35% as well, and yet where is the evidence to showcase that online purchases are indeed the problem? Presently, we only collect statistics on overseas purchases at the airport and yet we should be collecting statistics on personal imports (by collating duty submissions made by the various importing firms) in order to make an informed conclusion.
If you ask me, the biggest problem facing local retail isn’t competition from purchases on the internet, it’s from the decline of people with high disposable incomes. Retailers should be making that message well heard so more people understand the value our guest workers (aka. long term tourists) bring rather than expecting handouts.