In 2020, Australia’s 100 imported consumer products that generated the most spending totaled US$116.2 billion. That dollar amount represents 57.4% of the overall value of all Australian imported goods ($202.3 billion).
The 5 most valuable consumer products imported into Australia during 2020 were cars, processed petroleum oils, phones, computers and gold.
The total dollar amount for Australia’s top 100 imported consumer products declined by -3.4% from 2019 to 2020, compared to a -5.6% drop for all Australian imported goods for the year.
Australia’s purchases of imported products–both overall and consumer–actually dropped at a slower pace than the global average decline of -8.2% from 2019 to 2020 for all importing countries.
Among the top 100 consumer products imported by Australia, 56 increased in total sales from 2019 to 2020 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.
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.
|3||Computers, optical readers||$7,134,146,000||+6.0%||SP|
|5||Rubber tires (new)||$2,014,917,000||-6.4%||SP|
|8||Miscellaneous textile items||$1,642,408,000||+353.1%||SP|
|9||Seats (not barber/dentist chairs)||$1,355,093,000||+6.8%||SP|
|10||Electrical converters/power units||$1,273,919,000||+13.6%||SP|
|11||Models, puzzles, miscellaneous toys||$1,130,976,000||+10.8%||SP|
|13||Packaged insecticides, herbicides||$1,065,218,000||+93.5%||SP|
|15||Cases, handbags, wallets||$1,044,344,000||-19.8%||SP|
|16||Women's clothing (not knit/crochet)||$966,930,000||-17.0%||SP|
|20||Miscellaneous iron or steel items||$723,667,000||+4.5%||SP|
|21||Felt or other non-woven garments||$679,677,000||+826.4%||SP|
|22||Lower-voltage switches, fuses||$676,059,000||-0.3%||SP|
|23||Video console games, table games||$673,822,000||+17.2%||SP|
|25||T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)||$636,582,000||-10.8%||SP|
|26||Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)||$606,250,000||-7.1%||SP|
|29||Furniture base metal mountings||$539,839,000||+2.8%||SP|
|30||Screws, bolts, washers, hooks, pins||$534,056,000||-5.8%||SP|
|32||Men's suits (unknit/non-crochet)||$524,180,000||-19.1%||SP|
|33||Computer parts, accessories||$511,201,000||+15.0%||SP|
|35||Unrecorded sound media||$486,921,000||+4.7%||SP|
|37||Women's clothing (knit or crochet)||$417,462,000||+0.6%||SP|
|38||Soap, organic surface-active goods||$362,843,000||+43.8%||SP|
|39||Vulcanized rubber items||$359,557,000||-2.8%||SP|
|40||Sanitary towels, baby napkins/liners||$356,618,000||+11.6%||SP|
|41||Paper containers, cellulose wadding||$307,772,000||+4.3%||SP|
|42||Printed books, brochures||$303,196,000||-7.4%||SP|
|43||Yachts, other pleasure/sports vessels||$286,533,000||-14.9%||SP|
|44||Other pharmaceutical preparations||$273,240,000||+2.5%||SP|
|46||Footwear (rubber or plastic)||$263,897,000||-24.8%||SP|
|47||Vulcanized rubber apparel/accessory||$259,718,000||+109.4%||SP|
|48||Miscellaneous aluminum items||$248,911,000||+4.6%||SP|
|49||Plastic tile or roll coverings||$245,121,000||+16.3%||SP|
|50||Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles||$236,293,000||+20.0%||SP|
|51||Tufted carpets/textile floor coverings||$233,809,000||-6.8%||SP|
|53||Electric water heaters, hair dryers||$1,099,026,000||+22.9%||SY|
|58||Electric storage batteries||$800,637,000||-6.3%||SY|
|63||Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines||$530,532,000||-2.8%||SY|
|66||Electric generating sets, converters||$401,072,000||-38.3%||SY|
|70||Interchangeable hand/machine tools||$290,449,000||-3.0%||SY|
|71||Iron/steel stoves, barbecues||$273,417,000||+13.5%||SY|
|72||Compasses, other navigational aids||$249,851,000||-21.3%||SY|
|73||Electromechanic domestic appliances||$242,936,000||+30.8%||SY|
|75||Processed petroleum oils||$11,370,368,000||-35.4%||CP|
|77||Other food preparations||$1,456,227,000||-3.6%||CP|
|78||Miscellaneous plastic items||$1,167,109,000||+29.6%||CP|
|79||Plastic packing goods, lids, caps||$971,146,000||+6.1%||CP|
|80||Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries||$720,396,000||+0.9%||CP|
|82||Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)||$598,051,000||-7.1%||CP|
|84||Plastic wares (table, kitchen, toiletry)||$493,824,000||+0.0%||CP|
|88||Other organic cleaning preparations||$446,662,000||+24.7%||CP|
|89||Chocolate, other cocoa preparations||$442,493,000||-6.7%||CP|
|90||Sauces, mixed condiments, seasoning||$431,954,000||+11.1%||CP|
|91||Fish, caviar (preserved/prepared)||$414,176,000||-1.1%||CP|
|92||Malt extract, food preparations||$386,557,000||+8.6%||CP|
|93||Perfumes, toilet waters||$306,736,000||-18.9%||CP|
|95||Waters with added sugar||$271,112,000||+7.9%||CP|
|98||Miscellaneous preserved fruits||$259,187,000||+7.2%||CP|
|99||Fish fillets, pieces||$257,282,000||-13.9%||CP|
|100||Concentrated/sweetened milk, cream||$237,092,000||+22.0%||CP|
Australia’s most popular product type is shopping products (SP) led by cars, phones, computers, trucks and automobile parts or accessories. Shopping products represent just over half (52) of Australia’s top 100 imported consumer goods.
In second place via 26 entries are convenience products (CP) led by processed petroleum oils, medications, miscellaneous food preparations, miscellaneous plastic items, and packing goods including lids and caps made from plastics.
Speciality products (SY) have 22 entries. 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, 74 of Australia’s highest-value consumer imported products are durable while 26 are classified as non-durable.
You can also peruse the greatest increases or decreases in product values from 2019 to 2020. To do so, click on the heading of the fourth column.
Fastest-Growing Consumer Imports
Listed below are the top 10 consumer products imported into Australia that experienced the highest percentage increases in spending from 2019 to 2020.
- Garments made from felt or non-woven special fabric: Up 826.4% ($679.7 million)
- Silver: Up 407.5% ($687.2 million)
- Miscellaneous textile items: Up 353.1% ($1.6 billion)
- Vulcanized rubber clothing and accessories: Up 109.4% ($259.7 million)
- Packaged insecticides, herbicides: Up 93.5% ($1.1 billion)
- Soap, organic surface-active goods: Up 48.8% ($362.8 million)
- Gold: Up 33.8% ($6.3 billion)
- Electromechanic domestic appliances: Up 30.8% ($242.9 million)
- Miscellaneous plastic items: Up 29.6% ($1.2 billion)
- Sports equipment: Up 27.4% ($749.8 million)
Among the above top gainers, 9 items are durable goods that consumers can re-use over time.
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 silver, gold and electromechanic domestic appliances.
The fastest-growing convenience product category is miscellaneous plastic items. Consumers typically consider these items as non-durable products commonly referred to as disposable goods and therefore are used only once.
Worst-Declining Consumer Imports
Australia’s spending on the following 10 items decreased at the greatest pace from 2019 to 2020.
- Electric generating sets, converters: Down -38.3% ($401.1 million)
- Processed petroleum oils: Down -35.4% ($11.4 billion)
- Cigars/cigarellos, cigarettes: Down -30.5% ($459.1 million)
- Rubber or plastic footwear: Down -24.8% ($263.9 million)
- Malt beer: Down -21.3% ($261.1 million)
- Compasses, other navigational aids: Down -21.3% ($249.9 million)
- Leather footwear: Down -20.9% ($653.1 million)
- Cases, handbags, wallets: Down -19.8% ($1 billion)
- Unknit/non-crocheted men’s suits, trousers: Down -19.1% ($524.2 million)
- Perfumes, toilet waters: Down -18.9% ($306.7 million)
Four among the Australia’s top 10 declining imports are non-durable convenience products consumed one time only, namely: processed petroleum oils; cigars, cigarellos and cigarettes; malt beer; and perfumes and toilet waters. Electric generating sets or converters and navigational aids including compasses are speciality products made the list of leading losers.
The remaining 4 import decliners are shopping products that normally require more time for shoppers to make buying decisions, notably footwear. 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 cars. Australia’s 4 other leading consumer imports are processed petroleum oils, phones, computers, and gold.
Below, you will find major supplying countries for Australia’s imported:
Cars: Japan (42.9% of total), South Korea (13.1%), Germany (9.3%), Thailand (7.5%), United States (7.1%), United Kingdom (3.3%), China (2.9%), Hungary (2.2%), Mexico (1.9%), and Slovakia (1.8%).
Processed petroleum oils: Singapore (24.3% of total), South Korea (14.3%), China (13.5%), Malaysia (11.2%), India (8.1%), Japan (7.3%), Brunei Darussalam (6.8%), Taiwan (4.4%), Indonesia (3.1%), and United Arab Emirates (2%).
Phones: China (62.7% of total), Vietnam (12.4%), United States (5.8%), Malaysia (2.8%), Mexico (2.7%), Taiwan (2.7%) and Thailand (1.3%).
Computers: China (72.3% of total), United States (5.8%), Malaysia (5%), Singapore (3.6%), Mexico (2%), Taiwan (1.9%), Thailand (also 1.9%), Vietnam (1.3%), Ireland (1.2%), and United Kingdom (0.9%).
Gold: Papua New Guinea (34.1% of total), Thailand (16%), United States (8.9%), Indonesia (5.3%), New Zealand (5.1%), Saudi Arabia (5.1%), Mali (4.4%), Hong Kong (3.5%), Senegal (3.1%), and Ghana (2.9%).
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.
Trading Economics, Australia Consumer Spending.
Wikipedia, List of largest consumer markets.
World’s Top Exports, Australia’s Top 10 Imports.