Fizz, flash and frozen - what's changed in the inflation basket?
The Office for National Statistics announces 2023 "Basket of goods and services"
We recently (13 March 2023) revealed the annual changes to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) inflation "Basket of goods and services". The virtual basket contains over 700 carefully selected items representative of the goods and services that consumers typically spend their money on.
Some items are removed from the basket, some are brought in, while others remain unchanged.This annual update reflects thechanging tastes and habits of UKconsumers and maintains the accuracy and relevance of our inflation estimates.
Some of the changes also help to rebalance the basket by adding items where we need to improve coverage or by taking items out where a type of product may be over-represented.
The influence of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the basket, which has been so obvious over the last couple of years, has faded from our shopping habits in 2023. This year's changes point to the evolving choices of consumers, the rise of new technology and an increasing awareness of our health and environment.
This year'smain changes to the 2023 basket of goods include:
Non-chart CDs - the rise of music streaming has seen CD sales declining, leading the ONS to remove CDs from outside the Top 40 charts from the basket.
Alcopops - restaurants, cafes and pubs are over-represented in the basket, so this low-weighted item has fizzled out.
Digital compact cameras - with phone cameras now the norm, the availability of basic digital compact cameras has narrowed considerably, so they have exited the basket in a flash.
E-bikes - electric bikes have become more popular in recent years because of an increased awareness of the environment and personal fitness.
Home security cameras - this new addition shows homeowners spending money to protect their homes. This helps to capture the huge variety of doorbell and security cameras now available to consumers, while ensuring the basket is up to date with the latest technology.
Frozen berries - frozen fruit is added into the basket for the first time, partly because of the popularity of home-made smoothies.
These annual changes are only a small percentageof theitems sampled. This year we've added26items, removed16and left717 unchanged.
In addition to these basket changes, the ONS is also introducing a new data source for rail fares. Previously the ONS used the Office for Rail and Road's rail fares index but from this month, the source has switched to Rail Delivery Group and uses over 30 million price points in producing the index, giving us much more detail and a better understanding of how rail prices are changing.
This is part of our wider transformation plans, which over the coming years will see the ONS relying less on physical price collection and more on big data and prices intelligence from new sources. This includes supermarket scanner data, and information taken directly from retailer websites.
Commenting on this year's basket of goods,ONS Deputy Director of Prices Transformation, Mike Hardie, recently said:
"The impact of mobile phone technology continues to resonate with the removal of CDs and digital cameras from our basket, reflecting how most of us listen to music and take pictures straight from our phones these days.
"With many people looking to reduce their impact on the environment, we have also introduced e-bikes, whose popularity has risen significantly in recent years.
"As well as regular changes to the basket, our new data source for rail fares will see a big improvement in our calculation for rail fares, which form part of our wider transformation plans to move away from physical price collection and introduce new, bigger data sources in coming years."
The full basket of goods article will be published here on our website from 0930 on Monday 13 March
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