Household spending rises with eased COVID restrictions

Media Release

Following increases in January and February 2022, Household spending rose again in March 2022 by 6.6 per cent, compared to a year ago, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Jacqui Vitas, head of Macroeconomic statistics at the ABS, said “the largest increases were for spending on recreation and culture (17.8 per cent), clothing and footwear (15.2 per cent) and transport (12.5 per cent).

“In fact, Household spending increased in seven of the nine spending categories in March 2022, compared to March 2021. The only categories with decreased spending were alcoholic beverages and tobacco (-16.5 per cent) and health (-2.3 per cent),” Ms Vitas said.

All states and territories saw increases in household spending in March 2022, compared with March 2021. Victoria (8.5 per cent) and Queensland (8.5 percent) saw the strongest increases in spending through the year.

Compared to pre-pandemic January 2020 estimates, total household spending was 8.8 per cent higher in current price, calendar adjusted terms.

The strongest increases in were in health (up 24.2 per cent), clothing and footwear (up 19.5 per cent) and recreation and culture (up 15.0 per cent).  Household spending on hotels, cafes and restaurants was 5.4 per cent below pre-pandemic levels.

The line graph above shows the household spending index numbers in current price, calendar adjusted terms for the following categories: health, clothing and footwear, recreation, and culture and hotels, cafes and restaurants. 

Media notes

  • The indicator is produced using aggregated and de-identified card and bank transactions from several banking and financial institutions.
  • The indicator includes 9 of the 13 key divisions classified according to the Classification of Individual Consumption by Purpose (COICOP).
  • 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 (e.g. March 2022 compared to March 2021) comparisons. 
  • Care should be given when comparing Household Spending Indicator estimates with other ABS products.
  • 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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