Overall household spending was just 0.1 per cent higher in May 2024 than a year ago, according to new figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

This comes as discretionary spending fell 1.9 per cent, with ABS citing decreased spending on clothing and footwear and accommodation services. 

Through-the-year spending in clothing and footwear has continued to fall over the last three months. Fashion spending fell 2.7 per cent in March, 6.5 per cent in April and 9.9 per cent. 


Non-discretionary spending, however, has risen by 1.8 per cent, driven by increased spending on health and the purchase and operation of vehicles.

Spending between goods and services is also split, with services rising by 2.3 per cent and goods falling 2.5 per cent - with the latter driven by less spending in fashion and goods for recreation and culture. 

ABS head of business statistics Robert Ewing said annual spending growth has slowed in recent months. 

“The 0.1 per cent rise in May follows a 2.2 per cent increase in the 12 months to April,” Ewing said.

“We continue to see higher growth in spending on non-discretionary goods and services, compared to discretionary items.

“Non-discretionary spending rose 1.8 per cent, as households spent more on health services and food compared to the same time last year.”


There was a mix of rises and falls across the eight states and territories compared to the same time last year. 

The largest rises in spending were seen in Queensland, up 2.2 per cent, and South Australia, up 0.8 per cent. These rises were driven by higher spending on health, as well as miscellaneous goods and services which includes child care, professional services and personal care.

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