Inflation basket drops DVD recorders in latest revision

ONS statistician Phil Gooding explains that without change the basket would still include "wild rabbit meat or household mangles"

Changes in households' use of digital technology lie behind several of this year's changes to the basket of goods and services used to measure inflation.

Video streaming services like Netflix are in, while DVD recorders are out.

Digital single lens reflex (DSLR) cameras have also been added, as sales of smaller compact digital cameras have dropped.

The cost of these items goes towards calculating the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) each month.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS), which collects the data and calculates the various measures of inflation, said that this year 14 new items were in, while nine were out.

The basket of goods and services currently contains 699 items.

The 14 additions to the basket include flavoured milk, fresh fruit snacking pots, honey, mixer drinks, men's clothing hire, canvas shoes, manual as well as automatic car washes, interchangeable-lens digital cameras, plant food, wild bird seed, fashion necklaces and DVD rental/video-on-demand subscription services.

Among the nine items that drop out are wallpaper paste, hardwood flooring, gardeners' fees, DVD recorders, takeaway coffee and charges for after-school clubs.

Shopping habits

Some items were removed not because their sales were falling, but because the items had more prominence in the basket than was necessary to calculate the CPI.

Start Quote

Household fuels now account for a much larger proportion of people's living costs than a decade ago”

End Quote ONS

Thus wallpaper paste "is still represented by ready-mixed filler", the ONS said.

After-school charges were "overcovered" and takeaway coffee had been removed from the basket because "coffee is still represented by the takeaway latte item".

Although changes in the basket reflect changes in the shopping habits of the UK population, the ONS stressed that it was not confined just to everyday items bought in shops.

The basket also includes big-ticket items purchased infrequently, leisure spending on holidays, concerts or football season tickets, and utility bills.

"Household fuels now account for a much larger proportion of people's living costs than a decade ago," the ONS said.

Last year, blueberries, continental meats, white rum and e-books were all added to the basket.

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