The average Singaporean household spends S$4,900 monthly, with the most going to food and transport: Survey

The Household Expenditure Survey, which is conducted every five years, was based on data collected across 13,100 households in Singapore.
The Straits Times

What do you spend your monthly salary on? If you’re like most Singaporeans, food and transport are likely to take up a large portion of your monthly expenditures.

Results of the Household Expenditure Survey released on July 31 (Wednesday) found that in 2017/2018, the monthly expenditure of Singaporean households increased by 0.8 per cent from 2013/2012.

The Department of Statistics (DOS) said households spent an average of S$4,906 a month on goods and services in 2018, an increase from S$4,724 five years ago.

The survey, which is conducted every five years, was based on data collected across 13,100 households in Singapore between October 2017 to September 2018.

According the the report, each household member was also spending more, with each member spending S$1,628 a month, up from S$1,450 five years ago.

In a press release, DOS said that housing, food and transport accounted for 62 per cent of the monthly household expenditure, which was slightly lower than the 65 per cent recorded in 2012/2013.

Department of Statistics

More specifically, households spent S$1,199 on food monthly, mainly due to increased spending in restaurants, cafes and pubs, DOS said. 

Despite that, households continued to spend the most amount of money (S$437) on meals at hawker centres and food courts.

Read also: 91% of Singaporeans are satisfied with hawker centres – and most are happiest with the affordable food

With the rise of ride-hailing apps in Singapore, it’s no wonder that households spent most on private road transport – S$507 – out of their total monthly transport expenditure of S$781.

The largest growth in monthly expenditure came from the “others” category, including insurance and personal care, which households spent S$371 and S$130 on respectively.

Department of Statistics

2.4% increase in monthly household income

Households from all income groups are earning more compared to five years ago, the survey revealed, with the average monthly household income rising by 2.4 per cent per annum in nominal terms from S$10,467 to S$11,777

Each household member’s income grew at an even faster rate of 3.6 per cent, with each member earning S$3,940 last year, up from S$3,296 five years ago.

The average monthly income of households of the top 20 per cent income group saw a slower increase of 1.6 per cent per annum in nominal terms, compared to the lower income groups’ increase of between 2.7 to 3.3 per cent per annum.

Department of Statistics

Households living in one and two-room HDB flats experienced the highest income growth, at 6.3 per cent per annum in nominal terms.

Department of Statistics

More households have air conditioners and internet access

As an indicator of the standard of living, the survey recorded common household appliances owned by Singaporean households.

Results showed that the ownership of consumer durables such as television sets, washing machines and mobile phones was “near universal”, with between 96 to 98 per cent pf households owning these items.

Meanwhile, households in the lowest 20 per cent income group and those living in one and two-room HDB flats saw significant increases in their ownership of air conditioners and internet access.

About 25 per cent of households living in one and two-room HDB flats owned an air-conditioner, up from 14 per cent five years ago, while 45 per cent had internet subscriptions, double the number from 2012/2013.

Department of Statistics

However, ownership of residential telephone lines, digital cameras and pay television fell for households in most income groups and housing types.

This could be due to the rise of smartphones and online video streaming platforms, DOS said.

The number of households who owned a car dropped from 42.1 per cent to 35.3 per cent as well, likely because of the increased availability of transportation alternatives, it added.

Department of Statistics

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