The Surprising Twist in the UK’s Inflation Story

The Surprising Twist in the UK’s Inflation Story


With the end of the pandemic and a return to more regular working conditions, several factors began to affect major world economies, some good and some not-so-good. 

Skyrocketing inflation that some countries are still battling hit nearly every country globally. Venezuela, for instance, is still fighting an inflation rate that peaked in 2022 at 283%. In the United States, inflation saw gas prices, food costs, and necessities continue to climb through December 2023, when they finally fell by one-tenth of a percent. However, in 2024, places like the U.S. are focused on continuing the practices that caused inflation to ease off and make higher wages mean something to the American people.

Interestingly, in the United Kingdom, one particular product is helping to create a buzz in the Consumer Pricing Index (CPI), which indicates to the U.K. central bank how to handle interest rates to control inflation. 

Vinyl Records

vinyl records
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

In 2023, British consumers purchased an impressive 6.1 million vinyl records. This is the highest purchasing rate since 1990, astounding economists who haven’t seen vinyl records as an inflation indicator since 1992. 

It should come as no surprise that this increase in vinyl record sales is thanks in no small part to pop icon Taylor Swift. Vinyl record sales have skyrocketed in the country and are still steady. BPI CEO Jo Twist, who heads the body for independent labels and major record companies in the U.K., indicated her opinion on vinyl sales. Twist feels those numbers are “entirely natural” and a “popular indicator” of consumer spending. 

Taylor Swift’s Version

1989 Taylor's Version vinyl
Image Credit: Taylor Swift/Republic Records.

In April 2021, Taylor Swift released a set of rerecordings of her back catalog. She titled the new album Taylor’s Version. Since then, those songs have become an anthem for artists who’ve fought for the rights to their songs and the fans who love them. 

According to data from the British Phonographic Industry, “1989-Taylor’s Version” sold the most copies in the U.K. Vinyl record sales are just one indicator in the Office of National Statistics (ONS) notional shopping basket of products and services the U.K. uses to measure cost-of-living expenditures. 

Healthy Changes

shutterstock 1951367812
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Because the ONS looks at over 700 products and services regularly purchased by consumers to help indicate cost-of-living changes, the product criteria are constantly changing. Hand sanitizer, sofa beds, and bakeware were some of the most popular items nixed from the index. 

Items sliding into the index are air fryers, vinyl records, spray oil, and gluten-free bread. This shift indicates that consumers are making healthier choices, and air fryers have become so popular that they ” have cemented their place on many a kitchen counter over the last few years with expenditure increasing over 30% between 2021 and 2022,” according to the ONS. 

Matt Corder from the ONS said its inflation basket of goods “offers a fascinating snapshot of consumer spending through the years. Often, the basket reflects the adoption of new technology, but the return of vinyl records shows how cultural revivals can affect our spending.”

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