Getting a handle on households

The addition of new data based on ABS’s Household Expenditure Survey provides a great opportunity for media agencies to further minimise waste and maximise response.

Infographic_ABS_DIGITALA wealth of household expenditure data across 142 product and service groups from the Australian Bureau of Statistics has been included in emma (Enhanced Media Metrics Australia).

The data is based on ABS’s Household Expenditure Survey (HES) and provides analysts and planners greater information to target consumers, and more accurately include the effectiveness of newspaper media in that equation.

The survey is based on responses from 9,774 households and covers 14 distinct groups, split out into 44 sub-groups and 98 detailed break-outs.

The largest of these is food and beverage, which reports on eight sub-groups and 53 detailed break-outs, ranging from alcohol (broken down into beer, wine and spirits) to dairy (milk, cheese, butter, yoghurt, cream and margarine).

The extensive range of data also embraces entertainment and lifestyle (18 groups), home and garden (22), clothing and footwear (10), health and personal care (8), telecommunications (4), vehicle maintenance (6), education fees (3), fast food and restaurants (2), domestic services (4). There’s also cigarettes and tobacco, stationery, baby goods and interest repayments.

Each of these product/service groups is split into quintiles by expenditure; with median spend for each segment.

Fusing HES data  with emma data provides more comprehensive consumer profiles for planners and analysts to build highly-tailored segments and develop advertising solutions.

Best Practice Use

Expenditure splits enable an analyst to compare the bottom and top 20 percent of buyers of any given product. For breakfast cereal, the median weekly expenditure is $1.60, but the top 20 percent of buyers spend $9.50 as a weekly median.

Households with children are more likely to be heavy buyers but the data allows a more precise definition.

Using the benefits of the addition of HES data to emma, one-third of the heaviest spending households have children aged 5-12. That’s 20 percent of all households and 34 percent of the top 20 percent breakfast cereal buyers.

The media consumption of these hard-core cereal crunchers can be profiled, the results of which will aid channel selection.

Buyers in this segment are 7 percent more likely than the average Australian to be heavy newspaper readers (7+ issues/week), but only 1 percent more likely to be heavy TV viewers (4+ hours/day), and 2 percent less likely than the average Australian to be heavy radio listeners (3 hours/day).

Analysts can also identify which titles provide the greatest efficiencies. For cereal, readers of the most efficient newspaper are 69 percent more likely to be in the top 20 percent of buyers, and a quarter of these have an index of 120 or higher.

Similar analyses can be run using other variables in emma. Here are a few examples:

  • Tasmanians are 61 percent more likely to be in the top 20 percent of breakfast cereal buyers compared with the average Australian.
  • Victorians are 7 percent more likely to be in the bottom 20 percent.
  • Households earning over $120,000pa are 57 percent more likely to be heavy buyers of cereal; and
  • Those earning less than $40,000pa are 18 percent more likely to be in the bottom 20 percent.

Readership Variation

The data also reveals in this context the variation between the readership of different newspapers.

A newspaper that excels in reaching the top 20 percent of dairy or wine buyers may be less efficient in reaching heavy spenders on vehicle maintenance, so it is not a case of one size fits all.

With the assistance of the ABS’s Household Expenditure Survey, emma now offers a greater capability to minimise wastage and maximise return on investment from advertising in newspaper media.


Together with other data facets in emma – demographics, attitudes, lifestyles, purchase intention, media consumption­, and detailed readership of newspapers and magazines – planners have better tools than they’ve ever had. Even those not selling breakfast cereal, that’s a spoonful of goodness.



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