ABS reveals the latest on Australian household spending

Find out how discretionary and non-discretionary spending fared

ABS reveals the latest on Australian household spending


By Mina Martin

Household spending dipped 0.7% in July from the same period last year – the first time since February 2021 that the spending indicator has fallen, according to fresh ABS figures.

Robert Ewing, ABS head of business statistics, said consumers have held back on spending over the past 12 months amid higher interest rates and inflation.

“Spending on discretionary goods and services was down for the fourth straight month,” Ewing said. “It fell 3.3% over the year, as households adapt to cost-of-living pressures. Non-discretionary spending rose 1.7%, which is the lowest growth rate since early 2021.”

Goods spending had its largest fall since July 2021, down 4.1%, while spending on services lifted 2.4%.

The overall decline in household spending was driven by a 7.9% fall in furnishings and household spending, 7.5% decrease in clothing and footwear, and a -3.9% dip in recreation and culture.

Across states and territories, household spending fell in four areas, with the Northern Territory posting the largest drop, down -6.7%, led by falls for clothing and footwear (-23%), and recreation and culture (-15.5%).

When compared to last month, this month’s spending growth rates were lower in all states and territories, with NT also seeing the biggest slowdown in spending compared to the same period the prior year, falling from -0.7% in June to -6.7% in July, ASB reported.

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