Cost of living: can you afford it?
The Pandemic and shifting consumer buyer behaviour have led to a sea change in the calculation of the cost of living: can you afford it? Hand gel, weights and lounge wear have been added to the basket of goods used to measure the movement of prices. Retailers have reported a boost in sales of hoodies and joggers as we seek out more comfort for working from home (WFH).
The annual review by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also added smartwatches, WiFi lightbulbs and electric cars, somewhat less obvious picks but reflective of the WFH policy - smartwatches have been used to track exercising at home, lightbulbs, as people stuck indoors during lockdown upgraded their living spaces.
Hybrid and electric cars were also added to the basket as the UK moves closer to 2030, when sales of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned.
White chocolate is no longer in favour and home workers are swapping ground coffee for sachets with no need for canteen sandwiches either.
Some 180,000 prices are measured across thousands of UK outlets to calculate inflation, which is used as a benchmark for our finances.