Apps and smartphones replace ringtones as measures of inflation

The Office of National Statistics has added smartphones and their apps to the updated basket of goods and services it uses to calculate UK inflation rates.

The Office of National Statistics has added smartphones and their apps as well as fees for dating agencies to the updated basket of goods and services it uses to calculate UK inflation rates.

The apps replace mobile phone downloads, such as ringtones and wallpaper.

In its latest bulletin, the ONS said it was including dating agency fees for the first time because online dating sites were becoming a more common way for people to find a partner thanks to the internet.

ONS statistician Phil Gooding said the new items showed how technology was changing our lives.

"Powerful smart phones and the applications that run on them have become essential for many when communicating or seeking information," he said.

The ONS would collect the price of TV sets larger than 32 inches directly. This was because many households were now setting up "home cinema" systems, it said.

It was also adding sparkling wines to the basket. This was because more people were drinking them. This showed that people still wanted to enjoy themselves, despite the economy, it said.

The ONS was removing cigarettes from vending machine because of the new legislation to remove cigarette displays at the point of sale. It was also removing the pork shoulder, as it is being replaced by oven-ready joints as people move further towards more ready prepared foods, it said.

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