A Guide To Importing Furniture Into Australia

If you're interested in importing furniture into Australia, this guide will give you helpful tips to think about.

First comes the great Australian dream of home ownership. And then you need furniture to complete the dream. With an average US$ 2.8bn imported from China alone, furniture items are the top 10 e-commerce products sold in Australia.

Understand the rules of importing

When it comes to importing furniture into Australia, there are few regulations that restrict the import of these goods. However, if the furniture consists of an organic compound such as timber or wood, there are some regulations to note.

Learn about any restrictions on the types of products you can import

You can find out if your goods are allowed to be imported to Australia with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ biosecurity import conditions system. Alternatively, you can read Australia’s import restrictions for more information.


You may be required to obtain approval if your products contain the following:

  • Plant or plant products.
  • Animal or animal products.
  • Biological products.
  • Timber, wood, bamboo or related products.


Check any possible restrictions for the products you’re interested in, and if you’re not sure, contact the Australian Border Force.

Source furniture you’d like to import

Sourcing for goods is a major step to importing. Remember to carry out some market research and get an idea of the goods, price range, brand, quality, and other factors your potential customers may want. Use this insight to help you source for items.

There are various places you can find items to sell, these include:

  • Alibaba — A huge online marketplace that provides millions of different types of items, mainly available from China.
  • Amazon — Look through the various marketplaces to find suppliers of Jewellery and approach them directly.
  • Ebay — Some manufacturers and distributors will list items on the popular auction website.
  • Etsy — Since Etsy is built for craftspeople, there’s plenty of furniture to choose from.

Hints and tips on choosing the right furniture

  • Always source items based on what you know about your prospective customers. Base your decisions on your data and research.
  • Read reviews on the quality and customer service others have received from your prospective suppliers. Research them as much as you can before placing an order.
  • Always request a sample of any items you’re interested in. When you receive it, check the quality and safety standards. You might want to look into the authenticity and quality of the products.
  • Ask the supplier about their terms for payment, how long it will take them to send the product to you, what protections and guarantees you have, and what their policies are on returns. If you are satisfied and you’ve finished your due diligence, sign a contract with them.

Understand costs to import furniture

Now you know the furniture products you want to buy, you’ll need to understand the total cost to your business.


This includes the following:

  • The cost of buying the furniture in the first place (the wholesale costs).
  • The costs of shipping the furniture from its place of manufacture to Australia (logistics and distribution costs).
  • The tariffs and duties you’ll need to pay when importing into Australia.


You will almost certainly have to pay some taxes and tariffs on your imported goods. Spend some time learning about:


If your goods are valued at over $1,000 AUD, you will almost certainly have to pay import duty and GST on them.

  • Import entry costs and processing charges – Customs will charge you a fee (typically under $200 AUD) for processing your goods.
  • Customs import duty is calculated as a percentage of the price you paid for the goods. The duty rate can range from 0% to 10%, but the rate for most goods is 5%.
  • Goods and services sales tax (GST) will also be charged based on the following:
  1. The valuation of the goods plus;
  2. The customs import duty amount plus;
  3. The cost of insuring the goods and transporting them to Australia.
  4. GST is charged at 10% of the final amount.


This is just intended as a general guide – These charges can be influenced by what you’re bringing in, excise taxes, free trade agreements, and many other factors. Please check with customs for your individual circumstances.


Some types of goods are eligible for concessions (reducing the amount of duty you need to pay). You can find a factsheet about the Tariff Concession System here.

Figuring out your costs

Before you commit to importing, it’s essential to organise your business finances. Figure out the cost price of each furniture. Then, include your price per item (buying or manufacturing), transport and logistics, exchange rates, operational costs, insurance, salaries of people you need to pay, duties, tariffs, tax, and everything else that goes into running a business. Use all of these costs to help you set your selling price.

Paying for your goods in foreign currency

Importing is usually done in US dollars or Chinese Yuan, especially if you're importing furniture from China.

Consider using OFX.

They specialise in international payments and receipts for Australian businesses. Each client has a personal manager and access to a range of useful products like Forward Exchange Contracts, Options, Limit Orders and Currency Options.

OFX is a trusted partner of The Currency Shop. Click on this link , sign up and never pay a transfer fee for your international money transfers. Ever.

OFX charges no transaction fees. Minimum transfer A$250. Third party intermediary fees may still apply.

Learn more about OFX

What about receiving money in foreign currency?

Until recently, Australian businesses had 3 options to receive money from overseas customers:


  1. Get paid into a local Australian based, Australian dollar account.
  2. Open a Foreign Currency Account, usually with a bank
  3. Use a payment gateway like PayPal, Braintree or Stripe


Unfortunately, these options are usually filled with fees, balance requirements or massive exchange rate mark-ups.

In October 2017, TransferWise released the Borderless account in Australia and it’s really impressive. It allows you to receive, hold and transfer 27 different currencies.


A unique feature that is particularly useful for businesses, is the ability to have local bank account details in USD, EUR, GBP or AUD. This makes receiving money from overseas customers exceptionally easy.


For the full review of the TransferWise Borderless Account, click here

Learn more about the Borderless Account

Sell your furniture and reap the profits

As soon as your shipment arrives, it’s finally time to put it up for sale in your ecommerce store, brick and mortar shop, or through an online marketplace. Good luck!

By Justin Rampono Updated April 1st, 2019