6530.0 - Household Expenditure Survey, Australia: Summary of Results, 2015-16 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/09/2017   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product

This document was added or updated on 29/09/2017.


Analysis of detailed expenditure data provides an in depth understanding of the spending patterns of Australian households and how these are changing over time. The Household Expenditure Classification (HEC) is the system used in the Household Expenditure Survey (HES) to define the items and services purchased by Australian households and group together purchases that are related.

From 2015-16, the HEC includes over 600 items at the most detailed level (ten digit codes). At the broadest level (two digit codes) the HEC consists of 20 aggregate expenditure groups. This chapter focuses on detailed spending, using the ten digit level of the HEC. The purpose is to better understand the main factors contributing to changes in household spending in Australia.


The detailed spending categories that Australian households spent the most on per week in 2015-16 were, on average:

  • rent payments, at $106;
  • the interest component of mortgage repayments for the selected dwelling, at $80;
  • the purchase of motor vehicles other than a motor cycle, at $50;
  • meals in restaurants, hotels, clubs and related venues, at $44;
  • petrol, at $38;
  • hospital, medical and dental insurance, at $33;
  • fast food and takeaway (excluding coffee and not frozen), at $31;
  • electricity for the selected dwelling, at $30;
  • local government rates for the selected dwelling, at $20; and,
  • mobile telephone accounts and non-holiday vehicle leasing, at $17 each.


Due to updates to the HEC, some detailed expenditure categories are not comparable between 2009-10 and 2015-16 (see Technical Notes).

For goods and services that are comparable between 2009-10 to 2015-16, the detailed categories which saw the largest dollar value increase in average household weekly spending were:
  • rent payments, which increased by $28;
  • meals in restaurants, hotels, clubs and related venues, which increased by $12;
  • hospital, medical and dental insurance, which increased by $11;
  • formal child care services (nec), which increased by $9;
  • food and non-alcoholic beverages (nfd), which increased by $8;
  • local government rates for the selected dwelling, which increased by $7;
  • water and sewerage rates and charges for the selected dwelling, which increased by $6;
  • airfare inclusive overseas package tours, which increased by $6;
  • overseas holiday air fares, which increased by $6;
  • electricity for the selected dwelling, which increased by $6;
  • the purchase of a motor vehicle other than a motor cycle, which increased by $5; and,
  • mobile telephones accounts, which increased by $5.


Several goods and services were given their own HEC code in 2015-16. These additional codes recognise increased spending on some items or else novel goods and services which only became available for purchase after the 2009-10 survey. Within these new goods and services categories, Australian households spent a weekly average of:
  • $4 on takeaway coffee;
  • $3 on prepared dog food and $1 on prepared cat food;
  • $3 on building and landscaping products;
  • $2 on toilet paper;
  • $2 on vitamins;
  • $1 on computer games;
  • $1 on flavoured milk;
  • $1 on replacement meal beverages;
  • $0.5 on ride sharing services; and
  • $0.5 on energy drinks.

  • The four different levels of the HEC included in the data cubes of this publication are the two, four, six and ten digit levels. A copy of the HEC classification will be included in the 2015-16 User Guide.
  • The HEC is updated each time the Household Expenditure Survey is collected. While most expenditure categories are comparable over time, some new categories are added with each cycle to recognise goods and services that are attracting increased spending.
  • Changes over time are not adjusted for inflation.
  • nec - not elsewhere classified.
  • nfd - not further defined.