Vinyl records back in UK inflation basket after 32-year absence

Hand sanitiser among items dropped as consumers move past pandemic

Vinyl records will return to the UK inflation basket for the first time in 32 years after a surge in their popularity, while hand sanitiser is out as the pandemic fades from the nation’s shopping habits.

The Office for National Statistics said that air fryers, rice cakes and gluten-free bread will also be added to the basket to reflect changing eating habits. Sofa beds and hot rotisserie chickens were among the items to be removed.

The shake-up is part of an annual review of the consumer goods and services the ONS samples, so that the basket reflects fast-changing shopping habits by replacing outdated items.

Vinyl records were last used to help calculate the cost-of-living gauge in 1992 before compact discs took their place. The vinyl renaissance has led to them outselling CDs in value in the UK recently, with Taylor Swift and The Rolling Stones boosting sales last year to their highest level since 1990, according to the British Phonographic Industry trade group.


The revival of the physical music market has helped vinyl weather the mass shift toward music streaming services. CDs that fail to make the UK’s top 40 chart were dropped from the inflation basket last year.

“Often the basket reflects the adoption of new technology, but the return of vinyl records shows how cultural revivals can affect our spending,” said Matt Corder, ONS deputy director for prices. “We are also seeing the impact of the pandemic fading from the basket with the removal of hand sanitiser due to decreased demand.”

The changes will be introduced in February’s inflation release on March 20. They come at a time when consumer-price growth – currently at 4 per cent – is rapidly cooling after surging to double digits.

A number of the additions and removals reflected shifts in how Britons eat as shoppers pick healthier and gluten-free diets. Healthier cooking oil spray and sunflower and pumpkin seeds were also among the additions.

A surge in energy bills following the Russian invasion of Ukraine has led to a boom in sales of more power efficient air fryers. The ONS said spending on air fryers jumped 30 per cent between 2021 and 2022 as they became a staple cooking device in Britons’ kitchens. – Bloomberg