New ONS basket highlights changing spending habits

By Mark Wingett, M&C Report

- Last updated on GMT

ONS said speciality and micro-brewery products are seeing an increase in expenditure and the shelf space devoted to them
ONS said speciality and micro-brewery products are seeing an increase in expenditure and the shelf space devoted to them

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E-cigarettes and craft beer have been added to the basket of goods and services used to calculate UK inflation, by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It said that off-sales of craft beer have been introduced as these speciality and micro-brewery products are seeing an increase in both expenditure and the shelf space devoted to them.

Recent figures from accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young found that 30 new breweries launched in London during 2014 as the craft beer movement furthered gathered pace.

The ONS said that e-cigarettes have been added as a substantial number of smokers have switched to them, often as an aid to giving up smoking.

Music services

With the decrease in the popularity of traditional media, music streaming services – such as Spotify – are also being included for the first time, as are online console computer games subscriptions

In addition, headphones, which many people now buy for use with games consoles or as an upgrade to the free pairs that come with smart phones, are being added to the basket of goods. Alongside this, mobile phone accessories – such as chargers and covers – are also being added.

Other changes include the inclusion of protein powders, used by many gym-goers, and melons and sweet potatoes. While on the other hand, foreign exchange commissions and yoghurt drinks are being removed.

Basket of goods

There are currently 703 items that make up the CPI basket of goods and services, of which 13 are new this year, with eight other items being removed, and 16 being modified.

ONS uses the items in the basket of goods and services to calculate consumer price inflation.

The ONS collects around 110,000 individual prices each month from 20,000 shops across the UK, as well as a further 70,000 prices online. The 'weight' of each item – its relative importance in calculating CPI – is based on survey evidence of people's spending gathered by ONS from its own sources and commercial market research.

Thus low cost items purchased by relatively few people will have much less influence on the rate of inflation than higher value products bought in large numbers. 

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1 comment

"Craft" beer defined???

Posted by John Ellis,

If the Office of National Statistics is including "Craft Beer" in its stats, it must have a definition of which beers are craft and which are not. That would be interesting to see!

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