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ONS reveals shift in consumer trends

17 March 2014 - 10:52 by Paul Tissington

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The Office for National Statistics (ONS), produces a list each year of the kinds of things that are commonly found in the shopping baskets of British consumers, both in physical stores and online.

This is a great way of looking at what products and activities are emerging as popular, as well as pinpointing trends that have come to the end of their time in the mainstream spotlight.

Ever since shopping online became a widely practiced activity in the UK, people have had access to a broader range of products than ever before, as well as services which are delivered exclusively via the web.

This is especially evidenced by the inclusion of video streaming service, Netflix, in the ONS list for 2014, as people are keen to get easy access to this type of content, without having to rely on physical media.

In turn, the list no longer includes DVD recorders, which seem to have gone the way of the dodo, as people are able to record TV shows direct to a hard drive in a set top box, or simply catch up using on-demand services.

When it comes to clothing, canvas shoes like those manufactured under the Converse brand seem to be gaining traction at the moment.

In a statement, an ONS spokesperson said that the list of the items people are buying online and high street outlets is not just created to identify cultural shifts, but also to help provide a baseline for inflation, as prices vary over the years and the most widely purchased items are best for determining how the market is moving.

It will be interesting to see whether Netflix can stick it out and remain a popular purchase in the long term, or end up discarded like DVD recorders.