E-Commerce

Smartphones and online dating join consumer price index

But lager, rose bushes and pork shoulders get the chop...

Smartphones and mobile apps are now in the basket of consumer goods used to calculate UK inflation rates by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

The addition of smartphones to the consumer price index (CPI) reflects the recent increase in smartphone sales led by Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy S.

The collection of consumer goods used to calculate inflation now includes smartphones, mobile apps and MDF…

Consumer goods used to calculate inflation now include smartphones, mobile apps and MDF…Photo: Mukumbura

Mobile applications - such as Angry Birds, Facebook and silicon.com's app - are also new to the CPI and replace mobile downloads such as crazy frog ringtones and Justin Bieber wallpaper. The inclusion of mobile apps in the CPI reflects the surge in mobile downloads, with apps developed by organisations as diverse as the BBC and British Airways.

Large flat-screen TVs have been given their own category in the CPI as an increasing number of Brits are setting up home-cinema systems.

Online dating fees have also been propelled into the CPI calculations, as more members of the public are choosing to find love over the internet.

Phil Gooding, statistician at the Office for National Statistics, said in a statement that many of the new items included in the CPI "show the way technology is changing our lives".

"Powerful smartphones and the applications that run on them have become essential for many when communicating or seeking information. Likewise, increasing numbers of people now seek a partner via internet dating sites," he added.

It seems the public is also growing lazier, as oven-ready joints replace pork shoulders to reflect the increasing number of consumers opting for prepared foods.

Other notable changes to the CPI basket include the exclusion of rose bushes and vet fees for spaying a kitten, the inclusion of medium-density fibreboard (MDF) and the replacement of four cans of lager with bottles of sparkling wine.

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