The Standing Committee on Industry, Innovation, Science and Resources has announced an inquiry into the impact of online shopping on local businesses, as Amazon prepares to enter the Australian market.

The Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, The Hon Craig Laundy MP, last Wednesday asked the Committee to inquire and report on how Australian businesses have responded to the growing competition of online companies.

Committee Chair, Michelle Landry MP, welcomed the inquiry.

“Online sales currently make up a small but noticeable proportion of Australia’s total retail spending. While that will grow, it is vital that Parliament understands the effects it will have on local Australian businesses,” she said.

“Approximately ten per cent of Australians are employed in the retail industry, and around 40 per cent of Australia’s private-sector employment is in small businesses.

“So changes in how those sectors operate will have a significant impact on Australia’s economy as a whole.”

The inquiry will ask Australian businesses to consider how they will cope with the impending changes to the retail industry as well as how the Commonwealth Government can assist businesses in responding to these challenges.

Perhaps the biggest of these challenges will be the arrival of Amazon, which is expected to launch in Australia in the coming months.

In April this year, the online retail giant announced it was coming down under, and has since set up a 24,000 square foot fulfilment centre on the outskirts of Melbourne.

Retail Analyst at Citi, Bryan Raymond, said he expects Amazon to arrive on the Australian market just in time for Christmas.

“We would expect a formal launch to occur sometime in October 2017, ahead of Black Friday on 24 November,” he said in a report.

“Amazon is likely to maintain a strategy of matching or being the lowest price in the market at all times. This could spark a response from incumbent retailers who are intent on not being beaten by Amazon on price during the key pre-Christmas sales event.”

The report highlighted Australian retailers JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, Super Retail and RCG Corp as the businesses most exposed to the arrival of Amazon.