Australia’s Top 10 Imports

Australia's Top 10 Imports

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Australia imported US$221.4 billion worth of goods from around the globe in 2017, down by -4.8% since 2013 but up by 16.9% from 2016 to 2017.

As of June 2018, Australia’s import purchases were valued at $112.4 billion up 11.8% compared to the first 6 months of 2017.

Australia’s top 10 imports accounted for close to two-thirds (64.8%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.

Australian imports represent 1.4% of overall global imports which totaled an estimated $16.054 trillion one year earlier during 2016.

From a continental perspective, 56.6% of Australia’s total imports by value in 2017 were purchased from Asian countries. European trade partners accounted for 18.5% of import sales to Australia while 12% worth came from North America. Fellows islands and other territories in Oceania were responsible for over 4% of Australia’s imports.

Given Australia’s population of 23.2 million people, its total $221.4 billion in 2017 imports translates to roughly $9,500 in yearly product demand from every person in the country.

Australia’s Top 10 Imports

Top 10

The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Australia’s import purchases during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Australia.

  1. Vehicles: US$29.4 billion (13.3% of total imports)
  2. Machinery including computers: $28.8 billion (13%)
  3. Mineral fuels including oil: $22.8 billion (10.3%)
  4. Electrical machinery, equipment: $22.8 billion (10.3%)
  5. Pharmaceuticals: $7.9 billion (3.6%)
  6. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $7.8 billion (3.5%)
  7. Ships, boats: $7 billion (3.1%)
  8. Gems, precious metals: $6.6 billion (3%)
  9. Plastics, plastic articles: $5.8 billion (2.6%)
  10. Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: $4.4 billion (2%)

Imported ships and boats had the fastest-growing increase in value among the top 10 import categories, up 882% from 2016 to 2017.

In second place for improving import sales were mineral fuels including oil category via its 30.2% gain. Australian imports of electrical machinery and equipment delivered the third-fastest gain up 13%.

The only decline among the top 10 import categories is gems and precious metals via a -12.9% drop year over year.

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level. Information presented under other virtual folder tabs is at the more granular 4-digit level.

Vehicles

In 2017, Australian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles:

  1. Cars: US$17.5 billion (up 9.6% from 2016)
  2. Trucks: $6.5 billion (up 20.3%)
  3. Automobile parts/accessories: $2.2 billion (up 1%)
  4. Tractors: $1 billion (up 27.8%)
  5. Motorcycles: $516.5 million (up 1.4%)
  6. Trailers: $499.8 million (up 18%)
  7. Special purpose vehicles: $237.6 million (up 20.2%)
  8. Armored vehicles, tanks: $213.5 million (up 112.1%)
  9. Public-transport vehicles: $198.7 million (up 15.7%)
  10. Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles: $196.8 million (up 3.2%)

Among these import subcategories, Australian purchases of armored vehicles including tanks (up 112.1%), tractors (up 27.8%) and trucks (up 20.3%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported vehicles among Australian businesses and consumers.

Machinery

In 2017, Australian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery:

  1. Computers, optical readers: US$6.3 billion (up 16.6% from 2016)
  2. Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers): $1.4 billion (up 42.9%)
  3. Taps, valves, similar appliances: $1.2 billion (down -0.1%)
  4. Air conditioners: $1.1 billion (up 20.9%)
  5. Machinery parts: $1.1 billion (up 26.9%)
  6. Printing machinery: $1.1 billion (down -5%)
  7. Turbo-jets: $1.1 billion (up 6.5%)
  8. Refrigerators, freezers: $1 billion (down -14.1%)
  9. Miscellaneous machinery: $991.8 million (up 2.1%)
  10. Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $908.5 million (down -7.3%)

Among these import subcategories, Australian purchases of heavy machinery like bulldozers, excavators and road rollers (up 42.9%), machinery parts (up 26.9%) and air conditioners (up 20.9%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported machinery among Australian businesses and consumers.

Fuel

In 2017, Australian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuel-related products:

  1. Processed petroleum oils: US$14.7 billion (up 33.3% from 2016)
  2. Crude oil: $7.2 billion (up 22.5%)
  3. Petroleum oil residues: $452.1 million (up 50.2%)
  4. Petroleum gases: $206.8 million (up 17%)
  5. Coke, semi-coke: $51.7 million (up 182.1%)
  6. Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $42.9 million (up 512.1%)
  7. Tar pitch, coke: $33.4 million (up 489.9%)
  8. Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $32.1 million (up 5.8%)
  9. Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $23.5 million (down -7.4%)
  10. Peat: $12.3 million (up 8.1%)

Among these import subcategories, Australian purchases of coal including solid fuels made from coal (up 512.1%), tar pitch or coke (up 489.9%) and coke or semi-coke (up 182.1%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported fuel among Australian businesses and consumers.

Electronics

In 2017, Australian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electronics-related products:

  1. Phone system devices including smartphones: US$7.9 billion (up 9% from 2016)
  2. TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $1.9 billion (up 14.9%)
  3. Insulated wire/cable: $1.2 billion (up 13.7%)
  4. Electrical converters/power units: $1 billion (up 29.2%)
  5. Solar power diodes/semi-conductors: $1 billion (up 100.7%)
  6. Electric water heaters, hair dryers: $917.9 million (up 5%)
  7. TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras: $750.5 million (up 14.6%)
  8. Electric storage batteries: $727.4 million (up 27.7%)
  9. Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $680.7 million (up 14.6%)
  10. Microphones/headphones/amps: $666.9 million (up 20.7%)

Among these import subcategories, Australian purchases of solar power diodes or semi-conductors (up 100.7%), electrical converters and power units (up 29.2%) and electric storage batteries (up 27.7%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported electronics among Australian businesses and consumers.



 
See also Australia’s Top Trading Partners, Australia’s Top 10 Exports and Australia’s Top 10 Major Export Companies

Research Sources:
The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed September 3, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on September 3, 2018