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Household spending rises 11% above pre-pandemic 2019 levels 

Household spending rose 18.4 per cent in July 2022, compared to the same time last year, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Jacqui Vitas, head of macroeconomic statistics at the ABS, said July saw the 17th consecutive month of through-the-year increases in total household spending, with increases in all spending categories.

“There were particularly strong increases in spending on clothing and footwear (up 45.0 per cent), transport (up 35.4 per cent) and hotels, cafes and restaurants (up 34.9 per cent). These increases were coming off the back of the COVID-19 Delta lockdown impacts that we saw last year, when there was reduced spending in these spending categories due to lockdowns.”

In contrast, spending categories not so impacted by lockdowns, such as food (up 2.0 per cent), alcoholic beverages and tobacco (up 1.2 per cent) and furnishings and household equipment (up 0.8 per cent) saw only moderate rises.

Pre-pandemic Comparison

Compared to pre-pandemic July 2019 estimates, total household spending was 11.9 per cent higher in current price, calendar adjusted terms.


The strongest increases over this period were in furnishings and household equipment (up 22.4 per cent), clothing and footwear (up 22.3 per cent) and recreation and culture (up 21.6 per cent).

Household spending drove growth

Household spending rose 2.2 per cent for the quarter, contributing 1.1 percentage points to GDP. Growth was driven by spending on travel related categories such as transport services (up 37.3 per cent) and hotels, cafes and restaurants (up 8.8 per cent), while spending on food fell 1.2 per cent.

“Households increased spending on domestic and international travel as COVID restrictions further eased and international borders remained open. While spending on transport grew strongly, households were still only spending two thirds of what they did pre-pandemic,” Mr Crick said.

Increased travel activity by both households and business was reflected in increased Gross Value Added for the Accommodation and Food Services, and Transport, Postal and Warehousing industries.

Household saving ratio falls

The household saving to income ratio fell for the third consecutive quarter, from 11.1 per cent to 8.7 per cent, as the increase in household spending outpaced growth in household income. “Households were continuing to save but at a declining rate over the past three quarters. While the 8.7 per cent household saving ratio was the lowest since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it remains above pre-pandemic levels,” Mr Crick said.

Strength in compensation of employees (up 2.4 per cent) drove a 1.0 per cent increase in household gross disposable income. This is consistent with growth in employment in Labour Force, Australia. The number of employed persons rose 0.9 per cent over the quarter, driven by growth in full-time employment (up 2.3 per cent).

State Results

All states and territories saw increases in household spending in July 2022, compared to July 2021, with New South Wales (up 33.2 per cent) and South Australia (up 23.3 per cent) recording the highest increases in spending through the year. Both states experienced lockdowns due to the Delta wave this time last year.

Compared to pre-pandemic July 2019 estimates, all states showed rises in household spending with Queensland (up 19.1 per cent), South Australia (up 16.9 per cent) and Tasmania (up 16.4 per cent) showing the strongest rises.


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