Blu-ray players in, disposable cameras out: British shopping basket updated

Blu-ray players are in and disposable cameras are out as the UK's hypothetical basket of goods gives us an insight into the country's changing spending habits

Patrick Steen Special to CNET News
2 min read

The Office for National Statistics has made its latest update to Britain's shopping basket of goods and services -- its hypothetical collection of goods used to measure UK inflation. The addition of liquid soap, cereal bars and garlic bread isn't terribly interesting, but the changing face of Britain's technological affair certainly is. Kindly welcome Blu-ray players into the average consumer's home.

With living costs varying every year, the ONS updates its imaginary basket to contain items that reflect the average urban consumer's spending habits. Considering the amount of goods in there, we like to think of it as more of a trolley -- perhaps a white van. It's used to calculate the consumer prices index (CPI), which the Bank of England is furiously trying to keep below 3 per cent, The Guardian reports.

The ONS believes British consumers are typically spending their money on Blu-ray players, with the high-definition tech adorning the weighty basket to "capture price changes in this new expanding technology". The price of Blu-ray players has dropped dramatically over the last year, with the best Blu-ray players falling below the £200 bracket, helping the technology reach more than just early adopters.

Video game accessories make their first appearance, likely due to the increased spending on games such as Guitar Hero, Wii Fit and Singstar. The ONS calls this a "relatively new market", but with the advent of the Xbox 360's Project Natal and the PlayStation 3's Move later this year, 2010 is expected to see bumper growth in game peripheral sales.

To make room for these additions, a number of products have been thrown out, including disposable cameras, due to "decreasing expenditure as digital compact cameras and mobile phone photography become increasingly popular". Electric hair straighteners and tongs replace hairdryers, since they reportedly represent a greater market share. So that's why people are walking around with straight wet hair -- we thought it was just the weather.