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Suits out, sports bras in to calculate inflation

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

15 Mar 2022


Image: Adidas

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that sports bras and crop tops have been added to its “virtual basket” to calculate annual changes to the inflation of goods, while men’s suits have been removed.

The virtual basket of goods contains more than 700 “carefully selected items representative of the goods and services that consumers typically spend their money on”. The removal of men’s suits and the addition of women’s fitness products is reflective of the impact the pandemic has had on spending habits.

The ONS said that the rise in working from home had seen the demise of the suit from the consumer basket, in favour of a new men’s formal jacket and blazer item to ensure that men’s formal and business wear is still represented in the basket.

While sports bra and crop top have been added to the basket of goods to reflect the rise in expenditure on sports clothing.

Commenting on this year’s basket of goods, ONS head of economic statistics Sam Beckett said in a statement: “The 2022 basket of goods sees some really interesting changes, with the impact of the pandemic still evident in our shopping habits. With many people still working from home, demand for more formal clothing has continued to decrease. So, men’s suits disappear from the basket and are replaced with a formal jacket or blazer.

“Last year’s lockdown living saw an increase in the number of us working out and exercising. That has continued into 2022 with the addition of the sports bra into the basket reflecting greater spending on sports clothing.”

The ONS also added pet collars to the basket to highlight an increase in pet ownership during the pandemic and the growth in pet accessories. Other items added include doughnuts, antibacterial surface wipes, canned pulses, and meat-free sausages, while coal was dropped from the basket.

Office for National Statistics