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4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, 1997  
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Contents >> Income & Expenditure >> Expenditure: Household expenditure on recreation

Expenditure: Household expenditure on recreation

In real terms, Australian households spent 17% more on recreation in 1993-94 than in 1984 even though the size of the total household budget stayed much the same.

In 1993-94, Australian households reported that they spent an average of $79 per week on recreation including holidays, entertainment, gambling, sports, hobbies, pets, books, magazines, TV/audio equipment and other recreational equipment such as sporting goods and toys. Spending on recreational activities and equipment represented 13% of the average household budget (that is 13% of total household expenditure on goods and services). Between 1984 and 1993-94, expenditure on recreation increased by 17% in real terms. That is, after removing the effect of price increases in the period, households effectively bought 17% more recreational goods and services in 1993-94.

HOUSEHOLD EXPENDITURE ON RECREATION


    (a) 1984 expenditure adjusted using relevant CPI index and expressed in 1993–94 dollars.
    Source: Household Expenditure Survey, Australia: Household Characteristics (cat. no. 6531.0).

Recreation expenditure

The Household Expenditure Survey includes the following categories of recreation expenditure:

Television and other audio-visual equipment - includes TV sets and aerials; video cassette recorders and equipment; radio, stereo and hi-fi equipment; home computer equipment and software; TV games; video cassettes and discs; audio cassettes, tapes, compact discs and records.

Books, newspapers, magazines and other printed material.

Other recreational equipment - includes photographic equipment, film and chemicals; musical instruments and accessories; boats, boat parts and accessories; toys; camping and sports equipment.

Gambling - includes lottery tickets; lotto and instant lotto (scratch cards); TAB, on course betting; poker machines and ticket machines; blackjack, roulette and other casino type games.

Entertainment and recreational services - includes spectator admission fees to sports, cinema, live theatre, night-clubs, dances, museums, art galleries, zoos, national parks, agricultural and other shows and carnivals; sports participation fees and charges e.g. greens fees, sporting club subscriptions, health and fitness studio charges; hire, repair and insurance of audio-visual and other recreational equipment.

Animal charges and expenses - includes purchase of pets, pet food, veterinary charges and minding charges e.g. boarding kennels.

Holidays - includes air, rail, bus and other fares (including vehicle hire); petrol costs for holidays of four or more nights; accommodation charges; and package tours in Australia and overseas.

Household expenditure excludes any expenditure which is primarily for business purposes.


Income and expenditure on recreation
Expenditure on recreation is closely linked to income level. In 1993-94 expenditure on recreation ranged from $38 per week (13% of the household budget) in the lowest income quintile up to $146 per week (15% of the household budget) in the highest quintile. All income levels had higher real expenditure on recreation in 1993-94 than in 1984. Average increases varied from $7 to $12 per household per week in the lower four quintiles, up to $20 in the highest quintile.

In 1993-94 households comprising family groups with children in their mid to late teens or older, and young couples (reference person under 35) without children, spent over $100 per week on recreation. These households spent more than other household types on recreation partly because they had the highest disposable (after tax) incomes.

However, when household expenditure is averaged over the number of household members, those who spent the most on recreation were young couples without children, other young people (either living alone or in group households), and couples, without children, in the early-retirement age group (reference person 55-64). These households spent $40 or more per person per week on recreation. With the exception of early-retirement age couples (among whom full-time employment rates were relatively low), these households also had well above average per capita disposable incomes.

Younger families with dependent children, including one-parent families, spent the least on recreation (around $20 per person per week). These households also had the lowest per capita disposable incomes.

Elderly couples (reference person aged 65 years or older) spent significantly less on recreation than early-retirement aged couples. In 1993-94 elderly couples spent $27 per person per week on recreation compared to $42 for early-retirement aged couples. Elderly singles also had relatively modest expenditure on recreation ($24 per week).

HOUSEHOLD CHARACTERISTICS AND EXPENDITURE ON RECREATION, 1993-94

Selected household types
Average age
of reference person
Proportion
of household budget
spent on recreation(a)
Average weekly household expenditure on recreation
Average weekly household
disposable income

Years
%
$ per household
$ per person
$ per household
$ per person

Lone person only - under 35
27.0
14.9
59
59
374
374
Couple only - reference person under 35
27.0
14.7
106
53
761
380
Couple with dependent children only
    Eldest child - under 5
32.0
9.9
66
19
621
180
    Eldest child - 5-14
37.0
12.9
94
21
669
147
    Eldest child - 15-20
45.0
12.8
108
26
800
193
Couple with dependent and non-dependant children
46.0
12.9
126
28
1,052
230
Couple with non-dependant children only
55.0
14.4
125
38
901
276
Couple only - reference person 55-64
60.0
15.2
84
42
453
226
Couple only - reference person 65 or older
72.0
13.0
53
27
359
180
Lone person only - 65 or older
75.0
11.4
24
24
199
199
One-parent household
38.0
12.3
64
21
452
152
Group household
31.0
12.9
93
40
754
329
All households
47.0
13.2
79
30
586
223

(a) Amount spent on recreation expressed as a percentage of total expenditure on goods and services (excluding payments of mortgage principal on selected dwelling, other capital housing costs, superannuation and life assurance).

Source: Household Expenditure Survey, Australia: Household Characteristics (cat. no. 6531.0).


Little change in recreation spending patterns
Although Australian households are spending more on recreation overall, there has been little change in recreation spending patterns. In 1993-94, the three main areas of recreation expenditure were: holidays (accounting for 30% of the total recreation budget); entertainment and recreational services (19%); and TV and other audio-visual equipment (17%). Between 1984 and 1993-94, there appears to have been a small increase in the proportion of the household recreation budget spent in these three areas and a slight decline in the proportion spent on other recreational equipment, and on reading material.

In 1993-94 households spent 12% of their recreation budget on recreational equipment such as sporting goods, toys, musical instruments and photographic equipment, and 10% on reading material such as books, magazines and newspapers.

Young adult only households spent more of their recreation budget on TV and other audio-visual equipment than most other households and less on reading material such as books, magazines and newspapers.

On the other hand, older adult only households (reference person aged 55 years or older) spent less of their recreation budget on TV and other audio-visual equipment than most other households and more on reading material. These households also spent a bigger portion of their recreation budget on holidays than most other households and less on entertainment, recreational services and recreational equipment.

Families with young children spent more of their recreation budget on recreational equipment such as sporting goods, hobbies, toys and games than most other households and less on holidays.

RECREATION SPENDING PATTERNS


Source: Household Expenditure Survey: Australia: Detailed Expenditure Items (cat. no. 6535.0).

HOUSEHOLD CHARACTERISTICS AND RECREATION SPENDING PATTERNS, 1993-94

Selected household types
Holidays
Entertainment and recreational services
TV and other audio-visual equipment
Other recreational equipment
Books, newspapers, magazines, etc.
Total recreation(a)
%
%
%
%
%
%

Lone person only - under 35
27.6
22.6
30.1
9.5
6.7
100.0
Couple only - reference person under 35
28.0
18.2
19.7
14.2
6.8
100.0
Couple with dependent children only
    Eldest child - under 5
24.9
17.7
17.4
18.8
10.1
100.0
    Eldest child - 5-14
24.7
20.1
16.9
18.1
8.6
100.0
    Eldest child - 15-20
24.0
20.3
20.0
13.7
10.6
100.0
Couple with dependent and non-dependant children
25.5
22.8
18.1
12.1
11.0
100.0
Couple with non-dependant children only
29.1
17.8
18.3
12.5
8.2
100.0
Couple only - reference person 55-64
45.8
15.9
7.3
8.1
9.6
100.0
Couple only - reference person 65 or older
39.4
15.0
8.0
9.4
12.1
100.0
Lone person only - 65 or older
32.0
16.0
9.1
4.7
15.6
100.0
One-parent household
31.3
22.0
19.0
10.7
9.3
100.0
Group household
27.7
21.2
20.7
9.7
8.8
100.0
All households
29.5
18.7
16.8
11.8
9.5
100.0

(a) Includes other expenditure on recreation including gambling and purchases of pets and pet supplies. See previous table for dollar values of total recreation expenditure.

Source: Household Expenditure Survey (unpublished data).


Holidays
In 1993-94 Australian households spent an average of $23 per week ($1,220 per year) on holiday travel, accommodation and package tours in Australia and overseas. This represents an increase, in real terms, of $5 per week ($260 per year) since 1984.

Average weekly expenditure on holidays ranged from $12 per household ($8 per person) in the lowest quintile to $48 per household ($15 per person) in the highest quintile. The highest and lowest quintiles used more of their total recreation budget for holidays (33%) than the middle income groups (27%).

Older couples spent more of their recreation budget on holidays than any other household type: 46% ($38 per week) for early-retirement age couples and 39% ($21 per week) for elderly couples. On a per person basis, the biggest spenders on holidays were early-
retirement age couples ($19 per person per week) followed by young couples and lone-person households ($15-16 per person per week).

Australian households spend a significant, though declining, proportion of their holiday budget on overseas holidays (40% in 1993-94 compared to 44% in 1984). Higher income households spend a greater proportion of their holiday budgets on overseas travel than lower income households.

HOUSEHOLD EXPENDITURE ON HOLIDAYS

Proportion of recreation budget spent on holidays
Proportion of holiday budget spent on overseas holidays
Average weekly expenditure on holidays



1984
1993-94
1984
1993-94
1984(a)
1993-94
1993-94
Gross income quintile
%
%
%
%
$ per household
$ per household
$ per person

Lowest
29.0
32.7
32.6
33.3
7.47
12.46
7.94
Second
27.2
26.8
38.8
37.7
11.40
13.51
5.70
Third
24.5
26.4
44.8
40.3
15.01
19.10
6.59
Fourth
24.2
27.1
43.2
39.6
19.18
24.27
7.85
Highest
31.5
32.5
47.6
42.3
38.95
47.58
14.78
All households
27.7
29.5
43.8
39.9
18.39
23.40
8.90

(a) 1984 expenditure adjusted using relevant CPI index and expressed in 1993-94 dollars.

Source: Household Expenditure Survey, Australia: Detailed Expenditure Items (cat. no. 6535.0).


Sport and entertainment
In 1993-94 Australian households spent on average 19% of their recreation budget, or $15 per week, on entertainment (such as cinema, theatre, night clubs, zoos and sporting events) and recreational services (such as sports participation fees and charges and the hire and repair of sporting and other recreational equipment).

Watching and playing sports are favourite recreational pursuits for many Australian households. In 1993-94 households spent an average of $7 per week on sport: $4.25 on sports participation fees and charges such as green fees, court hire, sports lessons, equipment hire, and health and fitness studio charges; $2.50 per week on purchase of sporting equipment; and 50 cents per week on spectator admission to sporting events. Total expenditure on sport ranged from $1.80 per person per week in the lowest quintile to $4.80 per person in the highest quintile.

Movies and live theatre are popular forms of entertainment and, despite the growing popularity of home videos, expenditure on these forms of entertainment has not declined. In 1993-94 households spent an average of $2.50 per week on cinema and live theatre admission charges (about half on each). Expenditure per person increased with income level, from 60 cents per person per week in the lowest quintile to $1.70 in the highest quintile.

AVERAGE WEEKLY EXPENDITURE ON SPORT, CINEMA AND THEATRE

Sport

Participation fees/charges
Equipment purchase
Spectator admission
Total sport
Cinema and live theatre
Year and income level
$
$
$
$
$

1984(a) (per household)
3.90
1.85
0.68
6.43
2.29
1993-94 (per household)
4.25
2.50
0.53
7.28
2.48
1993-94 (per person)
1.62
0.95
0.20
2.77
0.94
    Lowest quintile
0.87
0.82
0.10
1.79
0.59
    Second quintile
1.14
0.38
0.10
1.62
0.50
    Third quintile
1.15
0.78
0.17
2.09
0.67
    Fourth quintile
1.74
0.74
0.20
2.68
0.86
    Highest quintile
2.61
1.80
0.35
4.76
1.74

(a) 1984 expenditure adjusted using relevant CPI index for each expenditure group and expressed in 1993-94 dollars.

Source: Household Expenditure Survey, Australia: Detailed Expenditure Items (cat. no. 6535.0).


TV and other audio-visual equipment
Purchases of television and other audio-visual equipment (including tapes, discs and cassettes) accounted for 17% of the household recreation budget or $13 per week. Of this amount, households spent an average of $4.50 per week on radio and stereo/hi-fi equipment (including audio discs, records, cassettes and tapes); $3.70 per week on home computer equipment and software; $3.00 on television and TV games; and $2 per week on video cassette recorders and equipment (including blank and pre-recorded video cassettes and discs). Households spent a further $1.40 per week on video hire.

Between 1984 and 1993-94 spending on TV and other audio-visual equipment increased in real terms by an average of $7.10 per household per week. Almost half of this increase ($3.20) was for home computer equipment and software.

As with other types of recreation expenditure, spending on TV and other audio-visual equipment increased with household income; from $3.10 per person per week in the lowest quintile to $7.40 in the highest quintile. Younger households spent more than older households on TV and other audio-visual equipment. For example, young couples spent $21 per week; young one-person households spent $18 per week ; elderly couples spent $4.30 per week and elderly one-person households spent $2.20 per week.

Why has spending on recreation increased?
Between 1984 and 1993-94, Australian households increased their spending on recreation, even though total expenditure on goods and services has changed little in the same period.

All household types reported increased real expenditure on recreation, from $1.50 per week for elderly one-person households up to $23 per week for young couples without children.

It would appear that consumers have generally changed their preferences in favour of recreational activities and away from other discretionary expenditure, tobacco and alcohol for example. Between 1984 and 1993-94 expenditure on tobacco and alcoholic beverages declined in real terms by $11 per household per week.

CHANGING EXPENDITURE PATTERNS

Average per week 1993-94
Real(a) change 1984 to 1993-94
Broad expenditure groups
$
$

Current housing costs
85.38
12.19
Recreation
79.34
11.34
Household furnishings, equipment, services and operations(b)
87.91
5.53
Clothing and footwear
33.71
-3.48
Food and non-alcoholic beverages
111.00
-3.75
Medical, health and personal care
38.51
-4.71
Transport
93.58
-7.69
Tobacco and alcohol
26.65
-10.67
All goods and services(c)
602.11
-3.15

(a) Change expressed in 1993-94 dollars. 1984 expenditure inflated using relevant CPI index for each expenditure group. All groups index used for total goods and services.
(b) Includes fuel and power.
(c) Includes miscellaneous goods and services.

Source: Household Expenditure Survey, Australia: Detailed Expenditure Items (cat. no. 6535.0).


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