In 2021, Australia’s top 100 imported consumer products for attracting the most spending totaled US$142.7 billion. That dollar amount represents 57.3% of the overall value of all Australian imported goods ($248.3 billion).
The 5 most valuable consumer products imported into Australia during 2021 were processed petroleum oils, cars, mobile phones, trucks and computers.
Year over year, the total dollar amount for Australia’s top 100 imported consumer products rose by 23.4% from $115.6 billion in 2020. That percentage shades the 23% upturn for all Australian imported goods for the year.
Australia’s purchases of imported products–both overall and consumer–underperformed the global average upturn of 26.5% from 2020 to 2021 incorporating all importing countries.
Among the top 100 consumer products imported by Australia, 56 increased in total sales from 2020 to 2021 whereas 44 declined.
Changes in Australian consumer demand for essential imports offer future opportunities for international suppliers who correctly anticipate which upward or downward trends will continue.
Consumer Products Defined
Economics educator BoyceWire defines a consumer product as a final good or end product that a business creates for consumers to buy. For example, consumers often purchase refined petroleum oil at the gas station while imported crude oil is an intermediate good subject to further processing before being sold to end users.
Although there may be a few wealthy individual buyers, products like turbojets are excluded from the consumer products targeted by this study. That is because turbojets are usually purchased by corporations. In contrast, it is common for a consumer to buy a motorcycle, car or truck.
Types of Consumer Products
This article focuses on 3 distinct consumer product types.
Convenience Products are easy to access, non-durable, have relatively lower prices and therefore consumers frequently purchase them. Examples of convenience products are food, alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks, and soap.
Shopping Products are not as easily available, involve more time to make a buying decision, are durable and are not bought as often as most convenience products. A great example of a shopping product is a mobile phone where buying the wrong model is a much more expensive mistake than buying a disappointing loaf of bread.
Specialty Products describe another consumer product type. This grey area includes infrequently purchased, expensive, durable and sometimes rare items. Consumers may consider the product’s brand image when making their purchase decisions. Some examples of speciality products are gold, silver, diamonds, jewelry, and branded refrigerators and dishwashers.
Australian Consumer Imports Smart List
The searchable marketing intelligence table below showcases Australia’s 100 highest-value imported consumer products in descending order. Items were selected at the four-digit Harmonized System tariff classification code level.
The table’s fourth column is labeled YOY for year over year. The fifth column identifies each entry’s consumer product type.
|1||Processed petroleum oils||$19,064,213,000||+67.2%||CP|
|3||Phone devices including smartphones||$9,098,021,000||+16.2%||SP|
|5||Computers, optical readers||$8,208,839,000||+14.6%||SP|
|9||Rubber tires (new)||$2,371,712,000||+17.6%||SP|
|11||Miscellaneous food preparations||$1,627,311,000||+11.9%||CP|
|13||Seats (not barber/dentist chairs)||$1,608,220,000||+20.3%||SP|
|15||Electrical converters/power units||$1,453,543,000||+14.7%||SP|
|20||Women's clothing (not knit/crochet)||$1,261,916,000||+32.4%||SP|
|22||Electric water heaters, hair dryers||$1,238,073,000||+13.8%||SY|
|23||Electric storage batteries||$1,228,209,000||+54.2%||SY|
|24||Cases, handbags, wallets||$1,223,847,000||+18.5%||SP|
|26||Packaged insecticides, herbicides||$1,212,346,000||+13.5%||SP|
|27||Miscellaneous plastic items||$1,189,430,000||+2.6%||CP|
|29||Plastic packing goods, lids, caps||$1,047,696,000||+8.2%||CP|
|36||Miscellaneous iron or steel items||$865,608,000||+20%||SP|
|37||Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)||$839,373,000||+36.4%||SP|
|39||Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries||$799,535,000||+11.3%||CP|
|40||Lower-voltage switches, fuses||$797,366,000||+18.1%||SP|
|42||T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)||$774,698,000||+23.1%||SP|
|43||Video console games, table games||$743,813,000||+12.4%||SP|
|46||Electric motors, not generating sets||$691,524,000||-16%||SY|
|48||Household base metal mountings||$674,345,000||+25.7%||SY|
|49||Computer parts, accessories||$664,569,000||+30.4%||SP|
|50||Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)||$661,620,000||+11.7%||CP|
|51||Screws, bolts, washers, hooks, pins||$654,822,000||+22.7%||SP|
|52||Men's suits (unknit/non-crochet)||$654,088,000||+26.1%||SP|
|53||Dishwash, clean/dry/fill machines||$652,627,000||+23.4%||SY|
|54||Miscellaneous textile items||$604,361,000||-63.4%||SP|
|56||Women's clothing (knit or crochet)||$577,002,000||+39.4%||SP|
|57||Plastic wares (table, kitchen, toiletry)||$573,748,000||+17.6%||CP|
|62||Yachts, canoes, row boats||$525,316,000||+88.2%||SP|
|63||Unrecorded sound media||$524,075,000||+7.8%||SP|
|66||Other organic cleaning preparations||$481,179,000||+7.7%||CP|
|67||Chocolate, other cocoa preparations||$468,907,000||+6.5%||CP|
|69||Sauces, condiments, seasoning||$438,210,000||+1.7%||CP|
|70||Electric generating sets, converters||$421,119,000||+3.3%||SY|
|71||Fish, caviar (preserved/prepared)||$415,688,000||+0.1%||CP|
|72||Vulcanized rubber items||$404,104,000||+12.7%||SP|
|74||Iron/steel stoves, barbecues||$383,449,000||+42.6%||SY|
|75||Sanitary towels, baby napkins/liners||$375,470,000||+4.9%||CP|
|76||Vulcanized rubber apparel||$373,674,000||+45.1%||SP|
|77||Waters with added sugar||$373,295,000||+38.3%||CP|
|79||Paper containers, cellulose wadding||$370,570,000||+21.4%||SP|
|80||Perfumes, toilet waters||$362,742,000||+18.2%||CP|
|81||Special hand/machine tools||$360,657,000||+24.6%||SY|
|82||Compasses, other navigational aids||$358,089,000||+42.9%||SY|
|83||Footwear (rubber or plastic)||$349,208,000||+33.7%||SP|
|84||Printed books, brochures||$342,852,000||+13.9%||SP|
|85||Miscellaneous aluminum items||$324,977,000||+31.4%||SP|
|87||Iron/steel tables, household items||$307,149,000||+43%||SP|
|89||Other pharmaceutical goods||$304,564,000||+11.6%||SP|
|90||Plastic tile or roll coverings||$302,750,000||+24.6%||SP|
|91||Wrist/pocket watches (regular case)||$293,902,000||+43.6%||SP|
|92||Wrist/pocket watches (precious case)||$289,048,000||+39.4%||SP|
|93||Women's underwear (knit/crochet)||$286,028,000||+28.9%||SP|
|94||Fish fillets, pieces||$281,844,000||+9.8%||CP|
|95||Soap, organic surface-active goods||$280,661,000||-22.9%||SP|
|96||Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles||$279,822,000||+21.3%||SP|
|98||Men's shirts (not knit or crochet)||$274,034,000||+24.4%||SP|
|100||Miscellaneous preserved fruits||$272,975,000||+5.5%||CP|
You can peruse the greatest increases or decreases in product values from 2020 to 2021. To do so, click on the heading of the fourth column.
Australia’s most popular product type is shopping products (SD) led by cars, mobile phones, trucks, computers, automobile parts or accessories then new rubber tires. Shopping products represent just over half (53) of Australia’s top 100 imported consumer goods.
In second place via 23 entries are convenience products (CP) led by processed petroleum oils, medication mixes in dosage, miscellaneous food preparations, miscellaneous items made from plastic, and wine.
Speciality products (SY) have 24 entries on the top 100 list. Examples of speciality products are Australian imports of gold, jewelry and silver.
Durable consumer products are goods like cars, refrigerators and furniture that last a relatively long time. Consumers can put durable products to use again and again. By product type, note that all shopping products and speciality products are considered as durable consumer products.
Non-durable consumer products (ND) are goods that are not re-used once consumed. Alcoholic beverages and bananas are examples of non-durable goods. Convenience products are uniquely non-durable consumer products.
Based on the product types identified in the above table, 77 of Australia’s highest-value consumer imported products are durable while 23 are classified as non-durable items that are used one time only.
Fastest-Growing Consumer Imports
Listed below are the top 10 consumer products imported into Australia that experienced the highest percentage increases in spending from 2020 to 2021.
- Yachts, canoes, row boats: Up 88.2% ($525.3 million)
- Fertilizer mixes: Up 78.6% ($889.5 million)
- Nitrogenous fertilizers: Up 73.5% ($1.3 billion)
- Motorcycles: Up 70.6% ($787.6 million)
- Processed petroleum oils: Up 67.2% ($19.1 billion)
- Trailers: Up 62.2% ($891.7 million)
- Electric storage batteries: Up 54.2% ($1.2 billion)
- Trucks: Up 50% ($8.8 billion)
- Tractors: Up 46% ($1.3 billion)
- Vulcanized rubber clothing & accessories: Up 45.1% ($373.7 million)
Among the above top gainers, 9 items are durable goods that consumers can re-use over time.
The only exception is what is considered a convenience product, specifically processed petroleum oils. Consumers typically consider these items as non-durable products commonly referred to as disposable goods and therefore are used only once.
Drilling down, 6 of the durable items are shopping products that require a comparatively longer time to make a buying decision, while 3 top gainers are periodically purchased speciality items namely fertilizer mixes, nitrogenous fertilizers. and electric storage batteries.
Worst-Declining Consumer Imports
Australia’s spending on the following items decreased at the greatest pace from 2020 to 2021.
- Miscellaneous textile items: Down -63.4% ($604.4 million)
- Soap, organic surface-active goods: Down -22.9% ($280.7 million)
- Gold (unwrought): Down -22.8% ($4.9 billion)
- Electric motors, not generating sets: Down -16% ($691.5 million)
- Silver (unwrought): Down -15.8% ($560.3 million)
- Cigars/cigarellos, cigarettes: Down -13.2% ($401.6 million)
- Pasta, couscous: Down -9.9% ($273 million)
- Washing machines: Down -3.3% ($305 million)
Two among the Australia’s top declining imports are non-durable convenience products consumed one time only, namely the cigars, cigarellos and cigarettes product category as well as pasta and couscous.
Gold, electric motors excluding generating sets, silver, and branded washing machines are 4 speciality products made the list of leading losers.
The remaining 2 import decliners are shopping products that normally require more time for shoppers to make buying decisions, specifically miscellaneous textile items and soap or surface-active goods. Note that purchases under the shopping products category are more likely to be deferred than convenience products.
Key Suppliers by Country
This analysis reveals competitive suppliers that target Australia’s demand for its top 5 consumer import products.
Australia’s biggest imported consumer product by value is processed petroleum oils. Australia’s 4 other leading consumer imports are cars, mobile phones, computers, and gold.
Below, you will find major supplying countries for the following Australian imports.
Refined petroleum oils: Singapore (33% of total), South Korea (17.2%), Malaysia (15%), India (11.3%), mainland China (6.1%), Japan (5.1%), Brunei Darussalam (also 5.1%), Taiwan (4.7%), United Arab Emirates (0.6%), and the Netherlands (also 0.6%).
Cars: Japan (40.2% of total), South Korea (13%), mainland China (8%), Germany (7.9%), United States (7.8%), Thailand (6.9%), United Kingdom (2.7%), Mexico (2.4%), Slovakia (1.5%), and Hungary (also 1.5%).
Mobile phones: mainland China (57.6% of total), Vietnam (12%), Netherlands (10.4%), United States (4.6%), Taiwan (3.1%), Malaysia (2.6%), Mexico (1.8%), Thailand (1.3%), Singapore (0.7%), and Hong Kong (0.6%).
Trucks: Thailand (49.6% of total), Japan (21.2%), United States (8.3%), mainland China (4.5%), Argentina (2%), Mexico (also 2%), France (1.7%), South Korea (1.2%), Germany (also 1.2%), and Sweden (1.1%).
Computers: mainland China (73.9% of total), Malaysia (5%), Singapore (4.8%), United States (4.5%), Taiwan (2.3%), Thailand (1.8%), Mexico (1.6%), Vietnam (0.9%), Germany (0.8%), and Ireland (0.6%).
More great research: Australia’s Main Imports by Top Supplier Countries, World’s Top 100 Imported Consumer Products, US Top 100 Imported Consumer Products, China’s Top 100 Imported Consumer Products
Independent insights and analysis presented in this article are based on researched facts and statistics sourced from the following educational portals.
BoyceWire, Consumer Goods Definition.
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook: Australia Economy.
International Trade Centre, Trade Map.
Investopedia, Consumer Goods, Consumer Staples Definition, Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG).
Trading Economics, Australia Consumer Spending.
Wikipedia, List of largest consumer markets.
World’s Top Exports, Australia’s Top 10 Imports.