RETAIL prices for hundreds of products, from clothing to cosmetics, have dropped by as much as half in recent years, due to greater global price transparency brought about by a boom in online shopping.
While Australian shoppers remain disgruntled about the sizeable price gap that often exists between local and overseas stores, consumers are paying significantly less for many international brands than they were a year or more ago.
Myer, David Jones, JB Hi-Fi and the online cosmetics retailer Adore Beauty are among hundreds of retailers who have negotiated with suppliers to lower wholesale prices so they can compete with overseas websites, while minimising the impact on margins.
The retailers do not claim to have always achieved parity with their overseas counterparts but they say the gap is closing on many items.
''The growth in online has brought transparency not just to consumers but to us as retailers,'' said David Jones' group executive of merchandise, Donna Player. ''That has given us greater ability to go back and negotiate with suppliers.''
Ms Player said over the past year it had negotiated wholesale price reductions of up to 50 per cent across hundreds of international brands and thousands of products. Rival department store Myer has undergone a similar process and achieved price reductions of up to 40 per cent.
Steve Ogden-Barnes, a retail industry fellow at Deakin University, said the greater transparency meant retailers' motivation for negotiating better wholesale prices had shifted.
''In the past retailers have negotiated firmly with suppliers primarily to increase profit margins,'' he said. ''Now those negotiations often have a primary focus of reducing prices to prevent losing sales overseas.''
Dr Ogden-Barnes said while many international brands saw the value in dropping prices to prevent losing local sales, the cost of doing business in Australia.