Australia’s Top 10 Imports

Australia's Top 10 Imports

Goondiwindi Outback

Australia imported US$227.3 billion worth of goods from around the globe in 2018, down by -0.6% since 2014 but up by 2.7% from 2017 to 2018.

Australian imports represent 1.3% of overall global imports which totaled an estimated $17.788 trillion one year earlier during 2017 (calculated as of January 21, 2019).

From a continental perspective, 59% of Australia’s total imports by value in 2018 were purchased from Asian countries. European trade partners accounted for 19.6% of international purchases by Australia while 12% worth came from North America. Fellows islands and other territories in the Oceania continent were responsible for over 4% of Australia’s imports led by customers in New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

Given Australia’s population of 23.5 million people, its total $227.3 billion in 2018 imports translates to roughly $9,700 in yearly product demand from every person in the largest Oceanian country.

Australia’s Top 10 Imports

Top 10

The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Australia’s import purchases during 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Australia.

  1. Machinery including computers: US$31.9 billion (14% of total imports)
  2. Mineral fuels including oil: $30.3 billion (13.3%)
  3. Vehicles: $30.1 billion (13.2%)
  4. Electrical machinery, equipment: $25.6 billion (11.3%)
  5. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $8.3 billion (3.7%)
  6. Pharmaceuticals: $8.2 billion (3.6%)
  7. Gems, precious metals: $6.6 billion (2.9%)
  8. Plastics, plastic articles: $6.4 billion (2.8%)
  9. Articles of iron or steel: $5 billion (2.2%)
  10. Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: $4.8 billion (2.1%)

Australia’s top 10 imports accounted for over two-thirds (69.2%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.

Imported mineral fuels including oil had the fastest-growing increase in value among the top 10 import categories, up 32.8% from 2017 to 2018.

In second place for improving import sales was the articles made from iron or steel category via its 21.6% gain. Australian imports of electrical machinery and equipment delivered the third-fastest improvement thanks to its 12.3% uptick.

The lone decline among the top 10 import categories was the modest -0.1% year-over-year drop under gems and precious metals.

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.

Machinery

In 2018, Australian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery.

  1. Computers, optical readers: US$7.2 billion (up 14.4% from 2017)
  2. Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers): $2 billion (up 48.2%)
  3. Machinery parts: $1.4 billion (up 25.4%)
  4. Taps, valves, similar appliances: $1.4 billion (up 10%)
  5. Air conditioners: $1.1 billion (down -1%)
  6. Refrigerators, freezers: $1 billion (up 1.7%)
  7. Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $1 billion (up 12.2%)
  8. Miscellaneous machinery: $1 billion (up 2.1%)
  9. Printing machinery: $1 billion (down -5.6%)
  10. Turbo-jets: $934.8 million (down -11.4%)

Among these import subcategories, Australian purchases of heavy machinery like bulldozers, excavators and road rollers (up 48.2%), machinery parts (up 25.4%) and computers including optical readers (up 14.4%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

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 2018, Australian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuel-related products.

  1. Processed petroleum oils: US$18.9 billion (up 28.5% from 2017)
  2. Crude oil: $10.2 billion (up 41.3%)
  3. Petroleum oil residues: $654.7 million (up 44.8%)
  4. Petroleum gases: $263.3 million (up 27.3%)
  5. Coke, semi-coke: $97 million (up 87.5%)
  6. Tar pitch, coke: $66.7 million (up 99.6%)
  7. Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $29.7 million (down -7.7%)
  8. Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $25.2 million (up 7.1%)
  9. Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $20.1 million (down -53.2%)
  10. Peat: $13.8 million (up 12.7%)

Among these import subcategories, Australian purchases of tar pitch and coke (up 99.6%), coke or semi-coke (up 87.5%) and petroleum oil residues (up 44.8%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

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.

Vehicles

In 2018, Australian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles.

  1. Cars: US$16.8 billion (down -4% from 2017)
  2. Trucks: $7.5 billion (up 15.3%)
  3. Automobile parts/accessories: $2.1 billion (down -3.6%)
  4. Tractors: $994 million (down -0.7%)
  5. Trailers: $589.9 million (up 18%)
  6. Motorcycles: $494.3 million (down -4.3%)
  7. Special purpose vehicles: $468.2 million (up 97.1%)
  8. Armored vehicles, tanks: $248.3 million (up 16.3%)
  9. Public-transport vehicles: $206.9 million (up 4.1%)
  10. Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles: $205.5 million (up 4.4%)

Among these import subcategories, Australian purchases of special purpose vehicles (up 97.1%), trailers (up 18%) and armored vehicles including tanks (up 16.3%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

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.

Electronics

In 2018, Australian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electronics-related products.

  1. Phone system devices including smartphones: US$8.5 billion (up 7.7% from 2017)
  2. TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $1.8 billion (down -1.9%)
  3. Solar power diodes/semi-conductors: $1.6 billion (up 62%)
  4. Insulated wire/cable: $1.4 billion (up 15.1%)
  5. Electrical converters/power units: $1.2 billion (up 15.8%)
  6. Electric water heaters, hair dryers: $935.9 million (up 2%)
  7. TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras: $877.2 million (up 16.9%)
  8. Microphones/headphones/amps: $848.1 million (up 27.2%)
  9. Electric generating sets, converters: $805 million (up 52.2%)
  10. Electric motors, generators: $802.1 million (up 75.4%)

Among these import subcategories, Australian purchases of electric motors and generators (up 75.4%), solar power diodes or semi-conductors (up 62%) and electric generating sets or converters (up 52.2%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

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 2018. Shown beside each product label is its total import value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2017.

RankAustralian Import Product2018 Value (US$)Change
1Processed petroleum oils$18.9 billion+28.5%
2Cars$16.8 billion-4%
3Crude oil$10.2 billion+41.3%
4Phone system devices including smartphones$8.5 billion+7.7%
5Trucks$7.5 billion+15.3%
6Computers, optical readers$7.2 billion+14.4%
7Medication mixes in dosage$5.3 billion-1.6%
8Gold (unwrought)$4.6 billion+7.4%
9Electro-medical equip (e.g. xrays)$2.4 billion+10.4%
10Blood fractions (including antisera)$2.3 billion+17.5%
11Rubber tires (new)$2.1 billion+9.7%
12Automobile parts/accessories$2.1 billion-3.6%
13Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers)$2 billion+48.2%
14TV receivers/monitors/projectors$1.8 billion-1.9%
15Miscellaneous furniture$1.8 billion+11.1%
16Solar power diodes/semi-conductors$1.6 billion+62%
17Orthopedic appliances$1.4 billion-2.8%
18Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs)$1.4 billion+11.9%
19Machinery parts$1.4 billion+25.4%
20Insulated wire/cable$1.4 billion+15.1%
21Cases, handbags, wallets$1.4 billion+16.2%
22Taps, valves, similar appliances$1.4 billion+10%
23Electrical converters/power units$1.2 billion+15.8%
24Other food preparations$1.2 billion+20.7%
25Air conditioners$1.1 billion-1%
26Women's clothing (not knit or crochet)$1.1 billion+9.1%
27Miscellaneous iron and steel structures$1.1 billion+34.3%
28Models, puzzles, miscellaneous toys$1.1 billion+2.1%
29Refrigerators, freezers$1 billion+1.7%
30Centrifuges, filters and purifiers$1 billion+12.2%
31Miscellaneous machinery$1 billion+2.1%
32Printing machinery$1 billion-5.6%
33Plastic packing goods, lids, caps$998.1 million+7.2%
34Tractors$994 million-0.7%
35Lamps, lighting, illuminated signs$979.9 million+3.1%
36Jewelry$976 million-0.4%
37Miscellaneous plastic items$955.2 million+11.2%
38Electric water heaters, hair dryers$935.9 million+2%
39Turbo-jets$934.8 million-11.4%
40Liquid pumps and elevators$913 million+12.5%
41Beauty/makeup/skin care preparations$883.3 million+17.6%
42TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras$877.2 million+16.9%
43Aircraft parts$869 million+3.7%
44Air or vacuum pumps$863.9 million+12.4%
45Microphones/headphones/amps$848.1 million+27.2%
46Footwear (leather)$831.1 million+4.7%
47Lifting/loading machinery$807.6 million+5.6%
48Electric generating sets, converters$805 million+52.2%
49Electric motors, generators$802.1 million+75.4%
50Electric storage batteries$782.1 million+7.5%
51Transmission shafts, gears, clutches$757.9 million+10.4%
52Packaged insecticides/fungicides/herbicides$741.8 million-14.7%
53Miscellaneous iron or steel items$735.9 million+14.9%
54T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)$714.8 million+2.5%
55Lower-voltage switches, fuses$705.3 million+3.6%
56Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$691.9 million+6.7%
57Cigars/cigarellos, cigarettes$660.8 million+5%
58Men's suits, trousers (not knit or crochet)$660.4 million+6.1%
59Petroleum oil residues$654.7 million+44.8%
60Harvest/threshing machinery$654.5 million-18.6%
61Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries$651.1 million+9.1%
62Sort/screen/washing machinery$650.5 million+36%
63Table games, bowling equipment$647.9 million+2.4%
64Nitrogenous fertilizers$641.5 million+10.2%
65Pneumatic hand tool$639.1 million+3%
66Temperature-change machines$639 million+6.2%
67Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)$626.9 million+8.8%
68Wine $622.3 million+1.2%
69Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels$607.9 million+12%
70Fork-lift trucks$597.2 million+18.4%
71 Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines $594.2 million+6.1%
72Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)$593.5 million+9.5%
73Sports equipment$592.4 million+3.7%
74Miscellaneous engines, motors$591.1 million+52.1%
75Trailers$589.9 million+18%
76Zinc ores, concentrates$587.7 million+15.4%
77Base metal mountings, fittings$587.1 million+8.7%
78Fertilizer mixes$586.6 million+17.9%
79Aircraft, spacecraft$585.6 million-49.7%
80Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers$584.6 million+12%
81Physical/chemical analysis tools$579.8 million+18.3%
82Unrecorded sound media$577.1 million+4.1%
83Linens$542.5 million+4%
84Bridge structures, parts$529 million+40.3%
85Computer parts, accessories$515.5 million+7.4%
86Cheese, curd$508.5 million-8.4%
87Aluminum plates, sheets, strips$508.3 million+10%
88Motorcycles$494.3 million-4.3%
89Footwear (textile)$489.5 million+5%
90Plastic tableware, kitchenware, toiletry$487.2 million+5.7%
91Miscellaneous iron or steel tubes, pipes$481.4 million+56.2%
92Ethylene polymers$477.8 million+38.5%
93Chocolate, other cocoa preparations$473.6 million-6.1%
94Engines (diesel)$472.8 million+14.2%
95Coffee$471.6 million-6.4%
96Special purpose vehicles$468.2 million+97.1%
97Integrated circuits/microassemblies$467.8 million+9.8%
98Electrical machinery$466.3 million-6.9%
99Spray/dispersing mechanical appliances$462.2 million+3.8%
100Mattresses, quilts$458.6 million+9%
101Fish, caviar (preserved/prepared)$455.9 million+8%
102Miscellaneous animal feed preparations$449.2 million+16.6%
103Hormones, miscellaneous steroids$448.3 million-5.6%
104Swine meat$438.9 million-5.6%
105Diamonds (unmounted/unset)$430.4 million-1.8%
106Women's clothing (knit or crochet)$423.8 million+6.5%
107#N/A$409.5 million+894.1%
108Move/grade/scrape/boring machinery$409.1 million+31.4%
109Piston engine parts$408.6 million-2.2%
110Other measuring/testing machines$404.5 million+9%
111Sawn wood$401.4 million+37.6%
112Coated paper$393.5 million+1.8%
113Sauces, mixed condiments, seasonings$388.2 million+8%
114Other diagnostic/lab reagents$382.8 million-1.6%
115Wood carpentry, builders' joinery$380.3 million+8.1%
116Vulcanized rubber items$377.5 million+5.1%
117Vacuum cleaners$377 million+7.5%
118Flour/meal/starch/malt extract food preparations$367.8 million-7.2%
119Regulate/control instruments$367.2 million-6.4%
120Plastic tubes, pipes, fittings$363.8 million+10.1%
121Yachts, other pleasure/sports vessels$360.5 million+10.4%
122Miscellaneous articles, dress patterns$358.6 million+9.1%
123Unglazed ceramics, tiles$358.2 million+0.5%
124Printed books, brochures$357.9 million-2.6%
125Other organic cleaning preparations$357.3 million+6.7%
126Footwear (rubber or plastic)$354.4 million+1.3%
127Laminated wood (including plywood, veneer panels)$352.2 million+14.5%
128Shaped wood$351.2 million+6.7%
129Spectacles, goggles$340.8 million+7.6%
130Cellulose fiber paper$334 million+10.2%
131Perfumes, toilet waters$333.3 million+4.3%
132Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated)$331.4 million+11.8%
133Concrete/artificial stone items$326.7 million+7.3%
134Iron or steel tubes, pipes$324.4 million+54%
135Polyacetal/ether/carbonates$324.3 million+8.3%
136Copper wire$324 million+3%
137Iron or steel pipe fittings$316.1 million+23.8%
138Malt beer$315.3 million+9%
139Soya-bean oil-cake, other solid residues$311.1 million+8.3%
140X-ray equipment$308.6 million+4.3%
141Mechano-therapy appliances$306.6 million+0.5%
142Interchangeable hand/machine tools$302.3 million+18.7%
143Paper containers, cellulose wadding$301 million+15.3%
144Chemical industry products/residuals$293.6 million+10.9%
145Heterocyclics, nucleic acids$293.3 million-13.8%
146Fish fillets, pieces$292.6 million+1.7%
147Washing machines$292.3 million-5.2%
148Navigational aids, compasses$289.5 million0%
149Men's shirts (not knit or crochet)$288.9 million+6.2%
150Derricks, cranes$287.3 million+76.7%
151Self-adhesive plastic in rolls$284.9 million+3.4%
152Tufted carpets/textile floor coverings$284.8 million+1.8%
153Iron and steel stoves, barbecues$284.2 million+4.9%
154Hair preparations$275.2 million+14.6%
155Ball, roller bearings$273.1 million+6.7%
156Aluminum bars/rods$271.7 million+15.2%
157Organic surface-active goods, soap$264 million+6.7%
158Petroleum gases$263.3 million+27.3%
159Wrist/pocket watches (no precious metal case)$260.2 million+3%
160Survey/hydro/weather instruments$259.6 million+17.7%
161Print/write/draw inks$258.7 million-5.4%
162Liquid/gas checking instruments$257.7 million+12.6%
163Miscellaneous aluminum items$257.2 million+14%
164Piston engines$255.6 million+0.8%
165Tracksuits, swimwear (not knit or crochet)$255.5 million+6.3%
166Sutures, special pharmaceutical goods$255.2 million+7.2%
167Crustaceans (including lobsters)$249.7 million+16.4%
168Non-alcoholic drinks (not water/juice/milk)$249.4 million+3.7%
169Radar, radio communication items$249.4 million-1%
170Electric sound/visual signal bells or alarms$249 million+3.2%
171Armored vehicles, tanks$248.3 million+16.3%
172Women's shirts (not knit or crochet)$247.8 million+1.9%
173Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$244.6 million+1.2%
174Women's underwear, pajamas (knit or crochet)$243.7 million+2.4%
175Industrial preparation machinery$242.8 million+4.3%
176Miscellaneous preserved fruits$238.5 million+1.3%
177Pasta, couscous$236 million+11.8%
178Bombs, grenades, ammunition$233.7 million+3.5%
179Sanitary towels, baby napkins/liners$233.5 million+5.9%
180Vinyl chloride polymers$231.2 million+9.8%
181Electrical lighting/signaling equpment, defrosters$228 million+2.6%
182Wrist/pocket watches (precious metal case)$221.7 million+5.9%
183Butter, ghee, other milk fats$219.8 million+25.1%
184Iron or non-alloy steel angles, shapes, sections$212.8 million+5.8%
185Tissues, napkins, toilet paper$210.1 million+5.9%
186Iron and steel tables, household items$209.1 million+5.7%
187Plastic tile or roll coverings$208.8 million+17.4%
188Hydraulic cements$207.4 million+25.9%
189Public-transport vehicles$206.9 million+4.1%
190Special-purpose railway/tram coaches, vans$206.7 million+47.9%
191Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles$205.5 million+4.4%
192Optical fiber cables, sheets, plates$203.9 million+9.7%
193Precious metal waste, scrap$203.6 million-58.2%
194Electric circuit parts, fuses, switches$202.3 million+10.5%
195Brooms, brushes$200.3 million+12.4%
196Camp items including tents, sails$196.9 million+11.9%
197Crustaceans, molluscs (preserved/prepared)$196.4 million-14.6%
198Chemical woodpulp (non-dissolving)$196.2 million+15.7%
199Electric ignition/start equipment$194.8 million-7.6%
200Sugar confectionery (no cocoa)$193.3 million+2.3%

These 200 imported goods were worth a subtotal of US$187.5 billion or over four-fifths (82.5%) by value for all products imported into Australia during 2018.

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

Research Sources:
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on August 14, 2019

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed February 7, 2019