Australia’s Top 10 Imports

Australia's Top 10 Imports

Goondiwindi Outback

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.

From January to August 2018, goods imported into Australia were valued at $150.6 billion. This 8-month metric puts Australian imports on track for an annualized $225.9 billion estimated for all 2018.

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%)

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

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.

Also see the section Searchable List of Australia’s Most Valuable Import Products further down near the bottom of this article.

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.



 

Searchable List of Australia’s Most Valuable Import Products

At the more granular four-digit HTS code level, Australia’s top import products are cars, refined petroleum oils and phones followed by crude oil then trucks.

The following searchable table displays 200 of Australia’s most in-demand imported goods during 2017. Shown beside each product label is its total import value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2016.

RankAustralia's Import Product2017 Value (US$)Change
1Cars$17.5 billion+9.7%
2Processed petroleum oils$14.7 billion+33.3%
3Phone system devices including smartphones$7.9 billion+9.2%
4Crude oil$7.2 billion+21.6%
5Trucks$6.5 billion+20.5%
6Computers, optical readers$6.3 billion+15.4%
7Light vessels, fire boats, floating docks$6.3 billion+115,917%
8Medication mixes in dosage$5.4 billion-4.1%
9Gold (unwrought)$4.3 billion-2.5%
10Electro-medical equipment (e.g. xrays)$2.2 billion-0.4%
11Automobile parts/accessories$2.2 billion+0.9%
12Blood fractions (including antisera)$2 billion+17.5%
13Rubber tires (new)$2 billion+7.3%
14TV receivers/monitors/projectors$1.9 billion+14.7%
15Miscellaneous furniture$1.6 billion+3.9%
16Orthopedic appliances$1.5 billion+1.9%
17Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers)$1.4 billion+42.7%
18Taps, valves, similar appliances$1.2 billion+0%
19Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs)$1.2 billion-1.8%
20Insulated wire/cable$1.2 billion+13.8%
21Cases, handbags, wallets$1.2 billion+8.3%
22Aircraft, spacecraft$1.2 billion-4.6%
23Air conditioners$1.1 billion+20.8%
24Machinery parts$1.1 billion+26.7%
25Printing machinery$1.1 billion-4.7%
26Turbo-jets$1.1 billion+6.8%
27Models, puzzles, miscellaneous toys$1 billion+8.5%
28Refrigerators, freezers$1 billion-13.4%
29Women's clothing (not knit or crochet)$1 billion+6.8%
30Electrical converters/power units$1 billion+29.4%
31Sodium/potash hydroxide, peroxide$1 billion+54.4%
32Solar power diodes/semi-conductors$1 billion+100.9%
33Tractors$1 billion+26.7%
34Miscellaneous machinery$991.8 million+1.8%
35Jewelry$980.2 million+10.1%
36Other food preparations$959.9 million-23.9%
37Lamps, lighting, illuminated signs$950.7 million+2.2%
38Plastic packing goods, lids, caps$930.8 million+3.1%
39Electric water heaters, hair dryers$917.9 million+5.4%
40Centrifuges, filters and purifiers$908.5 million-7.7%
41Packaged insecticides/fungicides/herbicides$869.7 million+9.8%
42Miscellaneous plastic items$858.8 million+9.2%
43Aircraft parts$838.3 million-1.6%
44Miscellaneous iron and steel structures$818.6 million-27.5%
45Liquid pumps and elevators$811.6 million+13.5%
46Harvest/threshing machinery$803.7 million+22.8%
47Footwear (leather)$793.9 million+0.9%
48Air or vacuum pumps$768.3 million-20.4%
49Lifting/loading machinery$764.7 million+4.3%
50Beauty/makeup/skin care preparations$751.2 million+7.4%
51TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras$750.5 million+15.6%
52Electric storage batteries$727.4 million+28%
53T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)$697.1 million+6.8%
54Transmission shafts, gears, clutches$686.2 million+17.4%
55Lower-voltage switches, fuses$680.7 million+14.6%
56Microphones/headphones/amps$666.9 million+20.3%
57Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$648.2 million+5.4%
58Miscellaneous iron or steel items$640.6 million+1.4%
59Table games, bowling equipment$632.7 million+10.7%
60Cigars/cigarellos, cigarettes$629.5 million+3%
61Men's suits, trousers (not knit or crochet)$622.7 million-0.8%
62Pneumatic hand tool$620.7 million+18.5%
63Wine $615.1 million+12.4%
64Temperature-change machines$601.6 million-51%
65Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries$597 million+10.8%
66Nitrogenous fertilizers$582 million+5.3%
67Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)$576 million+1.8%
68Sports equipment$571 million+2.5%
69 Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines $560.2 million+8.9%
70Cheese, curd$555 million+24.6%
71Unrecorded sound media$554.2 million-4.8%
72Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels$542.6 million+3.5%
73Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)$542 million+6.7%
74Base metal mountings, fittings$540.4 million+5.6%
75Electric generating sets, converters$528.9 million+36.2%
76Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers$521.7 million+24.3%
77Linens$521.5 million+0.7%
78Motorcycles$516.5 million+1.6%
79Zinc ores, concentrates$509.3 million+48.6%
80Chocolate, other cocoa preparations$504.4 million+10.5%
81Fork-lift trucks$504.2 million+25.7%
82Coffee$504.1 million+11.3%
83Electrical machinery$500.6 million-10.5%
84Trailers$499.8 million+18.4%
85Fertilizer mixes$497.5 million-5.8%
86Physical/chemical analysis tools$490.1 million+2.6%
87Precious metal waste, scrap$486.7 million-58.6%
88Computer parts, accessories$479.8 million+2.3%
89Sort/screen/washing machinery$478.2 million+24.7%
90Hormones, miscellaneous steroids$475.1 million+14.4%
91Footwear (textile)$466.3 million+11.1%
92Swine meat$465.1 million+12.7%
93Aluminum plates, sheets, strips$462 million+23.2%
94Plastic tableware, kitchenware, toiletry$460.8 million+11.5%
95Electric motors, generators$457.2 million+22.1%
96Petroleum oil residues$452.1 million+50.9%
97Spray/dispersing mechanical appliances$445.1 million+5.8%
98Diamonds (unmounted/unset)$438.4 million+3.4%
99Integrated circuits/microassemblies$426.2 million+2.3%
100Fish, caviar (preserved/prepared)$422.2 million+8.9%
101Mattresses, quilts$420.6 million+13.6%
102Piston engine parts$417.6 million-2.3%
103Engines (diesel)$414 million+22.5%
104Women's clothing (knit or crochet)$398 million-1%
105Flour/meal/starch/malt extract food preparations$396.5 million+15.8%
106Regulate/control instruments$392.4 million-5.9%
107Other diagnostic/lab reagents$389 million+7%
108Miscellaneous engines, motors$388.6 million+18.8%
109Coated paper$386.7 million-7.4%
110Miscellaneous animal feed preparations$385.1 million+5.1%
111Bridge/tower parts, structures$377 million+30.8%
112Other measuring/testing machines$371.1 million-13.1%
113Printed books, brochures$367.4 million-2.4%
114Sauces, mixed condiments/seasonings$359.4 million+7.5%
115Vulcanized rubber items$359.1 million+3.9%
116Unglazed ceramic flags, tiles$356.3 million+365%
117Wood carpentry, builders' joinery$351.8 million+4.1%
118Vacuum cleaners$350.7 million+16.5%
119Footwear (rubber or plastic)$350 million-4.8%
120Ethylene polymers$345.1 million+10.8%
121Heterocyclics, nucleic acids$340.3 million-2.8%
122Other organic cleaning preparations$334.7 million+8.7%
123Plastic tubes, pipes, fittings$330.4 million+10.3%
124Shaped wood$329.1 million+6.7%
125Miscellaneous articles, dress patterns$328.8 million+5.3%
126Yachts, other pleasure/sports vessels$326.6 million+15.7%
127Perfumes, toilet waters$319.6 million+10.3%
128Spectacles, goggles$316.7 million+7.3%
129Copper wire$314.5 million+32.4%
130Move/grade/scrape/boring machinery$311.3 million+2.8%
131Washing machines$308.4 million+7.5%
132Miscellaneous iron or steel tubes, pipes$308.2 million+46.7%
133Laminated wood (including plywood, veneer panels)$307.7 million+23.6%
134Mechano-therapy appliances$305.1 million+10.4%
135Concrete/artificial stone items$304.5 million+12%
136Cellulose fiber paper$303.1 million+6%
137Polyacetal/ether/carbonates$299.5 million+8.7%
138Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated)$296.3 million+11.4%
139X-ray equipment$295.7 million-13.5%
140Sawn wood$291.8 million+2.5%
141Navigational aids including compasses$289.6 million-15%
142Malt beer$289.3 million-11.1%
143Fish fillets, pieces$287.6 million+1%
144Soya-bean oil-cake, other solid residues$287.2 million+13.8%
145Tufted carpets/textile floor coverings$279.8 million-0.1%
146Self-adhesive plastic in rolls$275.4 million+7%
147Print/write/draw inks$273.5 million+4.4%
148Men's shirts (not knit or crochet)$272 million+0.9%
149Iron and steel stoves, barbecues$270.9 million+9.4%
150Chemical industry products/residuals$264.8 million+15.2%
151Paper containers, cellulose wadding$261 million+6.7%
152Ball, roller bearings$256 million+15.6%
153Iron or steel pipe fittings$255.3 million+15.7%
154Interchangeable hand/machine tools$254.8 million+10.8%
155Piston engines$253.6 million-23.2%
156Wrist/pocket watches (no precious metal case)$252.6 million-10.4%
157Radar, radio communication items$251.9 million-3.3%
158Soap, organic surface-active preparations$247.4 million+9.6%
159Women's shirts (not knit or crochet)$243.3 million+3.1%
160Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$241.7 million+4%
161Electric sound/visual signal bells or alarms$241.4 million+15.3%
162Tracksuits, swimwear (not knit or crochet)$240.4 million+17.6%
163Non-alcoholic drinks (not water/juice/milk)$240.4 million+8.8%
164Hair preparations$240.1 million+9.1%
165Sutures, special pharmaceutical goods$238 million+6.1%
166Women's underwear, pajamas (knit or crochet)$238 million+14.3%
167Special purpose vehicles$237.6 million+19.6%
168Aluminum bars/rods$235.8 million+8%
169Miscellaneous preserved fruits$235.5 million+15%
170Other industrial preparation machinery$232.8 million+6.5%
171Crustaceans, molluscs (preserved/prepared)$230.1 million+43.2%
172Liquid/gas checking instruments$228.8 million+9.4%
173Bombs, grenades, ammunition$225.8 million-26.4%
174Miscellaneous aluminum items$225.7 million+9.5%
175Electrical lighting/signaling equpment, defrosters$222.2 million+4.5%
176Survey/hydro/weather instruments$220.5 million+21.2%
177Sanitary towels, baby napkins/liners$220.5 million+3.6%
178Lead ores, concentrates$216.3 million-0.8%
179Crustaceans (including lobsters)$214.6 million-10.6%
180Armored vehicles, tanks$213.5 million+111.1%
181Pasta, couscous$211.2 million+13.3%
182Electric ignition/start equipment$210.9 million-9.5%
183Vinyl chloride polymers$210.6 million+24.6%
184Iron or steel tubes, pipes$210.6 million+32.2%
185Wrist/pocket watches (precious metal case)$209.4 million+6.4%
186Petroleum gases$206.8 million+25.2%
187Iron or non-alloy steel angles, shapes, sections$201.2 million+98.1%
188Public-transport vehicles$198.7 million+15.5%
189Tissues, napkins, toilet paper$198.3 million+4.5%
190Iron and steel tables, household items$197.9 million+10.2%
191Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles$196.8 million+3.1%
192TV/radio/radar device parts$195.7 million+10.7%
193Coconuts, Brazil nuts, cashews$191 million+13.2%
194Miscellaneous garments (knit or crochet)$189.4 million-0.3%
195Sugar confectionery (no cocoa)$188.8 million+3.9%
196Other prepared/preserved vegetables (non-frozen)$188.2 million+5.5%
197Optical fiber cables, sheets, plates$185.9 million+8.7%
198Bras, corsets (not knit or crochet)$183.2 million+11%
199Electric circuit parts, fuses, switches$183.1 million+18.4%
200Acrylic polymers$182.2 million+14.3%

These 200 imported goods were worth a subtotal of US$176.4 billion or four-fifths (79.7%) by value for all products imported into Australia during 2017.

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