Ebooks added to UK’s ‘basket of goods’

13/03/2013

Ebooks have been added to the basket of goods and services used to calculate inflation rates, reflecting the growing trend of buying digital versions of books on electronic readers such as the Kindle and Sony E-Reader.

To reflect up-to-date spending trends, the ONS collects the prices of a cross section of 700 typical goods from 150 areas of the UK each month. From these it calculates the consumer prices index.

On the technology front, the ONS said digital television recorders, including personal video recorders, are replacing standard Freeview set-top boxes. This follows the recent digital switchover.

Changes in the use of technology has had a major bearing on the inflation basket in recent years, with the ONS including tablet computers such as Apple's iPad last year.

Commenting on the changes, Mark Kirschner, executive officer of global marketing at Rakuten, said: “Although consumers are battling rising costs in many areas of their lives, the popularity of eBooks shows that there is a strong appetite for reading as a pastime and technology is playing a huge role in fuelling this.

“Our own research supports the fact that Brits are buying books and magazines with 54% saying that they have purchased these items online in the last year. With consumers increasingly downloading and buying content on the internet, this addition to the basket of goods is another indication of how digital technology is changing both the way we shop and what we buy. The popularity of digital goods in the form of apps, music, films and books continues to increase as more consumers realise the benefits of being able to quickly and conveniently access content.”

In terms of food, Champagne sold in restaurants and bars was removed, in a sign that we are no longer living in such affluent times, the Office for National Statistics said.

Food-wise, continental sliced deli type meats (charcuterie) have been added to the basket, along with blueberries, suggesting healthier habits - while packaged vegetables for a stir-fry and hot chocolate are also now in.

For more information about the annual basket, you can see the full report here.

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