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Sharing economy transforming Kiwi spending habits

15 Jan 18

People are spending more online to rent a taxi, or a house for a night, and less on in-car satellite navigation and DVDs, Stats NZ says.

As a result of these changes in technology, the consumer price index (CPI) basket of goods and services used to measure inflation is changing after a three-yearly review.

"More people are going online to buy shared ride services, such as Uber, and shared accommodation services, like home-rental operators Airbnb and BookaBach," prices senior manager Jason Attewell says.

"We’re introducing the sharing economy to the CPI to keep it relevant for New Zealand."

"People are changing what they buy to keep up with changes in technology, and as a result, we’re removing several items from the CPI basket. These items are still available to buy, but New Zealanders just don’t spend as much on them."

As a result of the 2017 CPI review:
• in-car satellite navigation systems have been removed (they were added to the basket in 2008)
• DVDs and Blu-ray discs have gone (added to the basket in 2006 and 2011, respectively) along with the hire of DVDs, set-top boxes, and external computer drives
• MP3 players are out (they were added to the basket in 2006).

"At the same time, we’re seeing increased spending on technology accessories like headsets and cellphone cases. We’ve added these items to the CPI basket as part of the latest review."

"The CPI basket is really a reflection of New Zealand society and how it has changed over time," Attewell says.

Housing and food remain the most important items in the basket, accounting for almost half of people’s spending.

Housing includes rent, new builds, and other house improvements.

Craft beer and massages join the inflation brew

People are also spending more on craft beer and massages, so these are joining the CPI basket too.

"New Zealand used to be called a country of rugby, racing, and beer – but spending patterns are changing and Kiwis are increasingly keen on craft beer, body massages at beauty spas, and football club memberships," Attewell says.

At the same time, sewing machines are out of the inflation basket, but clothing alterations are now in.

"People don’t have as much time to do things themselves, and are prepared to pay others to do jobs for them," Attewell says.

Stats NZ reviews the CPI basket of goods and services every three years to ensure it remains relevant.

This is done by surveying people to find out what they spend their money on.

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