AUSTRALIA is struggling with a “vaporwave” phenomenon where consumers are turning to cheaper, less-than-ideal-quality, high-end and often inferior appliances, and a lack of government regulation, research has revealed.

Key points:A new study has revealed consumers in Australia are opting to buy cheaper, lesser-quality appliances at a faster rate than those in the US, UK and CanadaA new report by Australian consumer advocate group Consumer Action found consumers in both countries are turning away from less-efficient appliances at an unprecedented rateA new Australian study has found consumers are opting for “low-grade” appliances at “significantly higher” rates than those sold in the United States, United Kingdom and CanadaThe report, which is based on consumer sentiment data, found that in Australia, “vapourware” is a “fringe term” and “a subset of the whole phenomenon”.

It found consumers were “increasingly choosing the cheapest and least-efficient products available at lower price points, including low-grade appliances such as the air conditioner, air conditioners, heaters, and refrigerators”.

In the US and UK, a new study by consumer advocacy group Consumer Justice Network found that consumers in those countries were opting to use the cheapest “low”-quality “vaping” products.

But in Australia it is a different story.

While consumers in the two countries are opting in at similar rates, in Australia they are choosing “low grade” appliances “at significantly higher” rate, Consumer Action’s report found.

The “vape-inventors”‘ lobby group said the “lowest-grade products are more readily available in Australia and are less expensive”.

“In many cases, it is not the ‘best’ appliances, but the cheapest,” it said.

“This is not only the case in the USA and UK where ‘vapors’ are often sold in premium or ‘exotic’ products but in Australia as well.”

Consumer advocates say the phenomenon has spread beyond the country.

“There are a number of states in Australia where vaping is illegal,” Consumer Action national convener Elizabeth May said.

The group says Australian consumers are “unaware of the impact of vapourware, despite the fact the vapour technology is widely available”.

“We have to take this very seriously and have a strong consumer watchdog in place to ensure it’s not happening,” she said.

It comes as Consumer Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said there would be “no end to the pain” for Australian consumers as he announced a crackdown on “vapergate”.

“The Australian Government will take swift action to protect consumers,” he said in a statement.

Consumer Action’s findings were published in the Australian Journal of Consumer Research.”

Vaping and the vaping industry are not to blame for the health problems Australians are suffering.”

Consumer Action’s findings were published in the Australian Journal of Consumer Research.