Vinyl returns to ONS inflation measure after three decades

Vinyl returns to ONS inflation measure after three decades

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has added vinyl records to its 2024 basket of goods and services.

Vinyl records have returned to the ONS basket after a resurgence in their popularity. The format last appeared in 1992, but then disappeared as CDs and cassettes became more popular.

The virtual basket contains more than 700 carefully selected items representative of the goods and services that consumers typically spend their money on. The annual updating reflects the changing tastes and habits of UK consumers and maintains the accuracy and relevance of ONS’ inflation estimates.

New items are introduced to represent areas where consumer spending is significant or growing, while items are removed where expenditure is low or decreasing. This year the ON added 16 items and removed 15 out of a total of 744 items.

Non-chart CDs were removed from the basket last year, though CDs purchased online (and chart CDs bought in stores) continue to be in there alongside music downloads and streaming services. They will now be joined by vinyl LPs.

Dr Jo Twist OBE, BPI chief executive, said: “It’s good to see the ONS once again including vinyl LPs in its measure of what people are buying around the UK. This much-loved format has seen demand grow consistently for nearly two decades, including among younger and more diverse consumers who stream daily but also love to own their favourite music on physical formats. 

“Most albums are now released by artists and their labels on vinyl, often as highly collectible deluxe editions, whilst, as reported by ERA just last week, there has also been a surge in the number of independent record stores trading on the High Street again and HMV are also expanding. So it feels entirely natural that vinyl should once more be seen as a popular indicator of how people are choosing to spend their hard earned money.”

ERA CEO Kim Bayley said: “The ONS decision to add vinyl records to its basket of goods and services is an incredible milestone, marking the return to the mainstream of a format most people – including the music industry – had given up on.

“The long march back to popularity of vinyl is first and foremost a reflection of the inherent qualities of the format, in terms of touch, visual appeal and of course sound quality. But it is also a reflection of the skill and insight of the independent and High Street retailers who first identified that even as music became more convenient and less tangible in the streaming age there would be a need for a physical format which offered things which streaming could not.

“This is a day not just to celebrate the renewed success of vinyl but also to salute the retailers who pointed the way to this remarkable comeback.”

Drew Hill, deputy CEO of Utopia Music, said: "It’s great to see vinyl recognised as part of UK consumer spending habits for the first time in over 20 years. With vinyl sales at their highest since the nineties and record stores thriving once more, this is proof positive of modern consumers’ renewed interest in the format, placing it in the same league as essential items — including the likes of air fryers!”

PHOTO: Banquet


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