Re-imagining Household Expenditure Data

The ABS collects and publishes a variety of data on households, including the Household Financial ResourcesHousehold Income and Wealth and Household Expenditure Survey (HES). We are currently working to make more timely releases of household data available, and have an opportunity to re-imagine how the Household Expenditure Survey, which is currently run every six years, can better serve users and the community.

We have set up a team to work on this re-imagination project from July to December 2021 and intend to take a human design centred approach.  

Consultation with Users

In September we spoke with 93 users, and have now published a summary of the context and use cases for HES data. This has informed options that are now being considered by the ABS executive.

We will continue to post updates on the project, household data releases and relevant information here to keep you informed. 

If you are interested in sharing your perspective, or would like regular updates as part of the Network of Household Economics Statistics Newsletter, then please get in touch with us via

New developments in Household expenditure data

The ABS is working to leverage big data sources to gain new insights into household expenditure. The most recent examples are highlighted in the below papers where supermarket scanner data and bank transactions data is used to generate new food consumption statistics for the National Accounts and a possible a new monthly indicator of consumer spending.

Using scanner data to estimate household consumption (Sep. 2021)
The ABS has been collecting ‘point of sale’ systems data from supermarkets, otherwise known as “scanner data” or "transactions data", since 2011. The main use of scanner data in the ABS has been in the compilation of the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This paper outlines methods relating to quarterly experimental food estimates based on supermarket scanner data for the 5206.0 National Accounts publication. 

Using bank transactions data to measure household spending (Jun. 2021) 
The ABS has been working with selected banks to explore the possibility of producing a new monthly indicator of consumer spending. The banks are providing data for transactions recorded either from merchants, who have card terminals or eCommerce terminals with that bank, or customers who have cards with that bank. Other variables differ across the banks, with different levels of geography and differences in time series length.