Office for National Statistics
Envelopes out, smart speakers in as the ONS updates the inflation basket
Smart speakers, flavoured tea and electric toothbrushes added to the inflation basket – envelopes, three-piece suites and hi-fis drop out
Smart speakers, baking trays and electric toothbrushes are some of the items that have been added to the basket of goods and services used to calculate inflation. New food and drink items added to the 2019 list include peanut butter, flavoured tea and shop-bought popcorn.
Items that have dropped out of the basket this year include three-piece suites, washing powder, envelopes and hi-fi systems.
The basket of goods helps measure the changing cost of products and services over time, updated annually to reflect consumer behaviour and showing the changing tastes and habits of the UK.
This year’s additions point to some of the changing habits of consumers, for example, the way in which they are using new technology such as smart speakers. The addition of baking trays is perhaps a nod to the renewed but enduring appeal of baking. Purchasing patterns also influenced the update with, for example, non-leather settees replacing three-piece suites, as sitting room furniture has been much less likely to be sold in sets in recent years.
Other items added to the 2018 basket include: dinner plates, washing liquid or gel, dog treats, and a children’s fiction book for 6- to 12-year-olds.
Other items to be removed include: crockery sets and complete dry dog food.
Commenting on this year’s basket of goods, senior statistician Philip Gooding said:
“We want to reflect modern spending habits, and the alterations we have made highlight shifting consumer behaviour, whether that is in technology, the home or the way we communicate with one another.
“It is important to remember that we change a small percentage of the overall basket. This year we have added 16 items, removed 10 and modified 16, while leaving 688 unchanged.”
Read more about this year’s basket of goods and services.
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