David McCorquodale, UK head of retail at KPMG, comments on changes announced to the basket of goods and services used by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to calculate consumer price inflation*:
“The ONS basket of goods and services offers an interesting snapshot of the modern day British consumer and factors that influence spending patterns. As in previous years, advances in technology, the latest fads and trends, and the weather all seem to have affected purchasing decisions.
“Picking up on the latest health crazes, meat-based snacks have been added to this year’s basket as protein-rich diets increase in popularity. And in the women’s garment category, leggings have been included as “activewear” crosses the boundary between fashion and sports attire.
“In the techno-sphere, computer software replaces the CD rom bringing the basket into the modern era, and 2016 sees computer game downloads included as online gaming becomes increasingly mainstream.
“What’s more, this year sees the removal of nightclub entry as the number of nightclubs are decreasing indicating consumers are choosing a night on the sofa rather than a night on the town. With more people choosing indulge at home, a larger chocolate bar has been added to the basket in addition to the small bar as well as cream-based liqueurs such as Baileys.
“Finally, given the impact of the weather on consumer spend, the ONS have also reconsidered some of the seasonality of the items included in the basket. With some of the traditionally colder months heating up, ladies short sleeved tops for example, which were previously only tracked in summer, are now being recorded across all months. There’s no doubt that the impact of the weather will continue to affect purchasing decisions leading to many retailers reconsidering when to bring out new season ranges and when to discount older ones.”
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Notes to editor:
*The ONS’ 'shopping basket' of items making up the suite of consumer price inflation indices (CPI, CPIH, RPIJ & RPI) are reviewed every year and amended to reflect changes in the market and to make sure the basket is representative of consumer spending patterns.
Jess Liebmann, KPMG Corporate Communications
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KPMG Press Office: 020 7694 8773
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This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.