Date Published: Tue, 21 Feb 2017
Irish consumers are watching more streamed television programmes on larger TVs
Craft beer, champagne and different types of wine have been added to the basket
The Central Statistics Office has today released a new Consumer Price Index (CPI) series rebased to December 2016 along with the CPI results for January 2017. The new rebased series includes a number of methodological improvements which ensure the continued accuracy and representativeness of the CPI.
One of the key improvements in the CPI is the updating of the basket of consumer goods and services which happens every five years. This work is based on expenditure information gathered in the Household Budget Survey (HBS) which was carried out between February 2015 and February 2016. The HBS consists of a weekly diary of expenditure for households and a more detailed survey to capture larger and less frequent purchases.
Commenting on the update of the basket, statistician Colin Cotter, CPI said: “There are significant changes in the basket for electronic goods and services. For example, consumers are now purchasing larger TVs while e-readers and television streaming services have been included in the basket for the first time. Electronic products removed from the basket include clock radios, home cinema sound systems, MP4 docking stations, blank CDs, disposable cameras and camcorders.
Consumer preferences have also changed in the area of alcohol and tobacco. For example, e-cigarette refills/liquids, craft beer and champagne have been added to the basket. Champagne had fallen out of the basket five years earlier only to return this time. The price collection has also been expanded to include various different types of wine – red, white, rose and sparkling.
In terms of food, fresh hake has replaced plaice and whiting in the basket while avocados, melons and sweet potatoes have been added.”
The expenditure weights for the goods and services in the basket have also been updated using information from both National Accounts and the HBS.
A new electronic data capture system has been introduced by the CSO to coincide with the updating of the basket of goods and services. This new system allows the CSO price collectors, who are spread throughout the country, to carry out detailed data quality checks during the collection of prices in the retail outlets. This further enhances the quality of information that feeds into the construction of the CPI.
As part of the launch of the rebased CPI, the CSO have released an educational video on the CSO YouTube Channel. The video attempts to engage a wider audience in why the CPI is important, what it is used for and how it is calculated.