Household spending growth slows in March

Media Release

Household spending rose 8.2 per cent in March compared to the same time last year, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Robert Ewing, ABS head of business indicators, said through the year growth in household spending eased across all spending categories in March.

“Spending on discretionary goods and services rose 2.2 per cent, down from the recent peak in growth of 28.3 per cent in August 2022.

“Non-discretionary spending growth has also slowed, but to a lesser extent. In March, spending on non-discretionary goods and services increased 13.9 per cent, after peaking at 29.9 per cent in August,” Mr Ewing said.

The overall increase in household spending was driven by Hotels, cafes and restaurants (+22.8 per cent) and Transport (+16.0 per cent).

Spending on goods rose 4.8 per cent, boosted by a 12.6 per cent increase in Food, while spending on services saw an 11.4 per cent rise.

“Rising prices are contributing to this growth. The March quarter Consumer Price Index showed services price inflation rose 6.1 per cent - its largest rise since 2001 - and goods price inflation rose 7.6 per cent,” Mr Ewing said.

State and territory results

Household spending increased in all states and territories in March 2023 compared to March 2022.

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) recorded the largest increase in spending (+12.6 per cent), with large growth also seen in Food (+18.2 per cent) and Hotels, cafes and restaurants (+17.3 per cent).

The through-the-year rises were lower in all states and territories this month compared with last month. Queensland had the smallest rise in through-the-year spending with 7.0 per cent, dropping from 12.7 per cent in February.

Media notes

  • The indicator is produced using aggregated and de-identified card and bank transactions from banking and financial institutions.
  • The indicator includes nine of the 13 key divisions classified, according to the Classification of Individual Consumption by Purpose (COICOP).
  • All modes of transport are classified as non-discretionary, including bus, train and air fares, and the purchase and operation of motor vehicles.
  • The indicator is produced in current price original and current price calendar adjusted terms only.
  • Until the indicator is seasonally adjusted, it is advised to focus on through-the-year comparisons (e.g. March 2023 compared to March 2022).
  • Significant events such as COVID-19 can lead to very strong through-the-year rises. Care should be given when comparing periods with these events.
  • Care should be given when comparing Household Spending Indicator estimates with other ABS products. See the Methodology page for further information.
  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team via (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri).
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