UK national statistical institute the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released its Consumer Price Inflation Basket of Goods and Services: 2016 report on Tuesday, which revealed that CD Roms and rewritable DVDs have been taken out of the ONS ‘shopping basket’ of items that make up the suite of consumer price inflation indices (CPI, CPIH, RPIJ and RPI), which are reviewed annually.
The removal of physical media for computers from the ONS ‘shopping basket’ is said to reflect changes in the computer market that have resulted in an increase in the use of downloadable files. Therefore, the ONS has added computer software, such as for word processing, antivirus or web design, as well as downloaded computer games, to the CPI basket of goods.
Certain items are removed from the basket every year, while some are brought in, reflecting changes in the market and ensuring the indices are up to date and representative of consumer spending patterns.
Other items removed from the basket include night club entry fees, as a result of a decline in the number of night clubs in the UK. Several high profile nightclubs have closed their doors, while many of those that remain have removed entry charges. This means that the ONS has found it more difficult to collect entry prices.
CPI statistician Phil Gooding commented: “With the number of night clubs charging entry declining, we can no longer justify keeping these fees in the basket.”
The new CPI shopping basket has had 14 other items removed and modifications have been made to 13 other items. However there are 15 new items in the basket of goods, which include coffee pods and cream liqueurs such as Baileys. A total of 704 items are included in the basket this year and the list also now includes microwave rice, reflecting a long-term trend towards prepared foods, along with diverse items such as large chocolate bars, nail varnish and women’s leggings.
ONS said it collects approximately 110,000 individual prices each month from 20,000 shops across the UK, in addition to a further 70,000 online prices The ‘weight’ of each item is used to calculate CPI and is based on survey evidence of people’s spending gathered by ONS from its own sources and commercial market research. Therefore, 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.