Australia imported US$214.1 billion worth of goods from around the globe in 2019, up by 6.6% since 2015 but down by -5.8% from 2018 to 2019.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2019, the Australian dollar depreciated by -8.1% against the US dollar since 2015 and dropped by -7.5% from 2018 to 2019. Australia’s weaker local currency makes its imports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively more expensive when converted starting from the Australian dollar.
From a continental perspective, almost 60% of Australia’s total imports by value in 2019 were purchased from Asian countries. European trade partners accounted for 19.5% of international purchases by Australia while 13.6% worth came from North America. Fellows islands and other territories in the Oceania continent were responsible for 4.3% of Australia’s imports led by customers in New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. Smaller percentages came from exporters in Africa (1.5%) and Latin America (0.9%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
Given Australia’s population of 25.6 million people, its total $214.1 billion in 2019 imports translates to roughly $8,400 in yearly product demand from every person in the largest Oceanian country.
Australia’s Top 10 Imports
The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Australia’s import purchases during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Australia.
- Machinery including computers: US$30.7 billion (14.3% of total imports)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $27.1 billion (12.7%)
- Vehicles: $26.7 billion (12.5%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $24.5 billion (11.5%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $8.4 billion (3.9%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $8.1 billion (3.8%)
- Gems, precious metals: $6.6 billion (3.1%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $5.8 billion (2.7%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: $4.6 billion (2.1%)
- Articles of iron or steel: $4.5 billion (2.1%)
Australia’s top 10 imports accounted for over two-thirds (68.6%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.
Imported pharmaceuticals posted the sole increase in value among the top 10 import categories, up 2.5% from 2018 to 2019.
Leading the decliners were Australian imports of vehicles (down -11.2%), articles made from iron or steel (down -11%) then mineral fuels including oil (down -10.5%).
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.
In 2019, Australian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery.
- Computers, optical readers: US$6.7 billion (down -6.9% from 2018)
- Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers): $1.8 billion (down -10.3%)
- Machinery parts: $1.4 billion (up 1.9%)
- Taps, valves, similar appliances: $1.2 billion (down -8.2%)
- Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $1.1 billion (up 5.3%)
- Turbo-jets: $1.1 billion (up 13%)
- Miscellaneous machinery: $1 billion (up 2%)
- Refrigerators, freezers: $1 billion (down -3.2%)
- Air conditioners: $1 billion (down -10.8%)
- Liquid pumps and elevators: $900.1 million (down -1.4%)
Among these import subcategories, Australian purchases of turbo-jets (up 13%), centrifuges, filters and purifiers (up 5.3%) then miscellaneous machinery (up 2%) grew at the fastest pace from 2018 to 2019.
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.
In 2019, Australian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuel-related products.
- Processed petroleum oils: US$17.6 billion (down -7.1% from 2018)
- Crude oil: $8.6 billion (down -15.6%)
- Petroleum oil residues: $548.6 million (down -16.2%)
- Petroleum gases: $140.4 million (down -46.7%)
- Coke, semi-coke: $91.8 million (down -5.4%)
- Tar pitch, coke: $57.9 million (down -13.2%)
- Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $36.1 million (up 79.8%)
- Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $28.5 million (down -4%)
- Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $17.4 million (down -30.9%)
- Peat: $12.9 million (down -6.4%)
Among these import subcategories, Australian purchases of coal including solid fuels made from coal (up 79.8%) represent the sole increase from 2018 to 2019.
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.
In 2019, Australian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles.
- Cars: US$14.9 billion (down -11.3% from 2018)
- Trucks: $6.4 billion (down -14.7%)
- Automobile parts/accessories: $2 billion (down -3.8%)
- Tractors: $851.9 million (down -14.3%)
- Trailers: $558.1 million (down -5.4%)
- Motorcycles: $471.6 million (down -4.6%)
- Special purpose vehicles: $416.8 million (down -11%)
- Armored vehicles, tanks: $258.4 million (up 4.1%)
- Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles: $195.7 million (down -4.8%)
- Public-transport vehicles: $155.1 million (down -25%)
Among these import subcategories, Australian purchases of armored vehicles and tanks (up 4.1%) represent the sole increase from 2018 to 2019.
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.
In 2019, Australian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electronics-related products.
- Phone system devices including smartphones: US$8.2 billion (down -4.4% from 2018)
- TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $1.7 billion (down -5.3%)
- Solar power diodes/semi-conductors: $1.5 billion (down -7.7%)
- Insulated wire/cable: $1.2 billion (down -15.2%)
- Electrical converters/power units: $1.1 billion (down -4.8%)
- Microphones/headphones/amps: $948.5 million (up 11.8%)
- Electric water heaters, hair dryers: $893.8 million (down -4.5%)
- Electric storage batteries: $854.4 million (up 9.2%)
- TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras: $816.8 million (down -6.9%)
- Electric motors, generators: $772.9 million (down -3.6%)
Among these import subcategories, Australian purchases of microphones, headphones and amplifiers (up 11.8%) and electric storage batteries (up 9.2%) grew from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported electronics among Australian businesses and consumers.
Searchable List of Australia’s Most Valuable Import Products
The following searchable table displays 100 of Australia’s most in-demand imported goods during 2019. Shown beside each product label is its total import value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2018.
|Rank||Australia's Import Product||2019 Value (US$)||Change|
|1||Processed petroleum oils||$17,577,311,000||-7.1%|
|4||Phone system devices including smartphones||$8,153,305,000||-4.4%|
|5||Computers, optical readers||$6,725,460,000||-6.9%|
|7||Medication mixes in dosage||$5,319,230,000||-0.4%|
|9||Blood fractions (including antisera)||$2,569,366,000||+9.8%|
|10||Electro-medical equip (e.g. xrays)||$2,273,726,000||-5.6%|
|11||Rubber tires (new)||$2,152,118,000||+0.4%|
|13||Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers)||$1,829,188,000||-10.3%|
|16||Other food preparations||$1,508,298,000||+30.2%|
|17||Solar power diodes/semi-conductors||$1,506,206,000||-7.7%|
|21||Cases, handbags, wallets||$1,300,173,000||-4.3%|
|22||Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs)||$1,266,484,000||-7.4%|
|23||Taps, valves, similar appliances||$1,242,567,000||-8.2%|
|24||Women's clothing (not knit or crochet)||$1,161,361,000||+4.4%|
|26||Electrical converters/power units||$1,120,302,000||-4.8%|
|27||Centrifuges, filters and purifiers||$1,073,975,000||+5.3%|
|30||Models, puzzles, miscellaneous toys||$1,015,554,000||-3.7%|
|35||Miscellaneous iron and steel structures||$932,108,000||-15.2%|
|36||Plastic packing goods, lids, caps||$914,157,000||-8.4%|
|37||Lamps, lighting, illuminated signs||$907,649,000||-7.4%|
|38||Liquid pumps and elevators||$900,124,000||-1.4%|
|39||Miscellaneous plastic items||$899,206,000||-5.9%|
|40||Electric water heaters, hair dryers||$893,781,000||-4.5%|
|41||Air or vacuum pumps||$892,075,000||+3.3%|
|42||Beauty/makeup/skin care preparations||$887,540,000||+0.5%|
|44||Electric storage batteries||$854,400,000||+9.2%|
|48||TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras||$816,818,000||-6.9%|
|49||Transmission shafts, gears, clutches||$806,564,000||+6.4%|
|51||Electric motors, generators||$772,931,000||-3.6%|
|52||T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)||$712,387,000||-0.3%|
|53||Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries||$711,458,000||+9.3%|
|55||Miscellaneous iron or steel items||$692,751,000||-5.9%|
|56||Miscellaneous engines, motors||$678,108,000||+14.7%|
|57||Lower-voltage switches, fuses||$677,986,000||-3.9%|
|59||Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)||$657,835,000||+4.9%|
|60||Electric generating sets, converters||$651,030,000||-19.1%|
|62||Men's suits, trousers (not knit or crochet)||$647,657,000||-1.9%|
|63||Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips||$647,037,000||-6.5%|
|64||Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)||$641,978,000||+8.2%|
|66||Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels||$625,581,000||+2.9%|
|70||Pneumatic hand tool||$582,392,000||-8.9%|
|72||Physical/chemical analysis tools||$577,386,000||-0.4%|
|73||Table games, bowling equipment||$572,199,000||-11.7%|
|75||Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers||$567,222,000||-3%|
|78||Hormones, miscellaneous steroids||$558,638,000||+24.6%|
|81||Petroleum oil residues||$548,637,000||-16.2%|
|82||Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines||$545,834,000||-8.1%|
|85||Base metal mountings, fittings||$525,294,000||-10.5%|
|86||Bridge structures, parts||$511,186,000||-3.4%|
|88||Plastic tableware, kitchenware, toiletry||$492,974,000||+1.2%|
|91||Miscellaneous animal feed preparations||$474,170,000||+5.6%|
|92||Chocolate, other cocoa preparations||$473,434,000||-0.03%|
|94||Aluminum plates, sheets, strips||$468,212,000||-7.9%|
|95||Unrecorded sound media||$463,941,000||-19.6%|
|97||Spray/dispersing mechanical appliances||$462,498,000||+0.1%|
|99||Computer parts, accessories||$444,272,000||-13.8%|
These 100 imported goods were worth a subtotal of US$149.9 billion or 70% by value for all products imported into Australia during 2019.
See also Australia’s Top Trading Partners, Australia’s Top 10 Exports and Australia’s Top 10 Major Export Companies
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on February 9, 2020
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on February 9, 2020
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on February 9, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on February 9, 2020
Richest Country Reports, Key Statistics Powering Global Wealth. Accessed on February 9, 2020