If you’re spending more on fruit, ice cream and movies this holiday season, you’re probably not alone, says the Australian Bureau of Statistics. 

The last national Household Expenditure Survey revealed that Australian households interviewed during December 2009 and January 2010 spent an average of $15 a week on fruit and nuts and $3 per week on ice cream, icy poles or frozen yoghurt. They also spent, on average, $7 a week on cultural activities, such as movie and concert tickets, zoos, galleries and museums. 

During this holiday season, interviewers from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) will again be visiting households across Australia and collecting information on household income and spending. The data will be collated as part of the Survey of Income and Housing and the Household Expenditure Survey, which are conducted together every six years.

Since June 2015, the ABS interviewers have visited over 9,000 households. With surveys continuing to be conducted through to June 2016, interviewers have reached the halfway mark. 

"Our goal is to interview nearly 19,000 households to get a complete picture of household income and expenditure over 2015-16. It’s our new year’s resolution to hit this target," said Dr Paul Jelfs, General Manager of Population and Social Statistics at the ABS.

While there are many interesting facts from the survey about how Australians spend their money, Dr Jelfs said the Survey of Income and Housing and Household Expenditure Survey are used to help understand the economic wellbeing of individuals and households in Australia. The results are essential for ensuring that Australia’s official measure of inflation, the Consumer Price Index, reflects the latest expenditure patterns of Australians.

“The results from these surveys are crucial for informing government about the cost of living for Australians," said Dr Jelfs.

"These surveys assist in pinpointing groups of people most in need of assistance. It helps government assess tax and welfare policy impacts and plan future services in areas such as health, housing, child care, disability, transport and education.

"The success of these surveys relies on the participation of the public. I encourage those who are selected for the surveys to help us reach our target and make sure we are collecting information that represents the experience of all Australians," said Dr Jelfs.

He added, "And I’d like to send a big thank you to everyone who has participated in the surveys so far, as well as to our ABS interviewers who have been working over the holiday period to collect this important information.”