The Office for National Statistics will include online fashion price data when calculating the Consumer Price Index (CPI), as part of a new trial.
The government department has partnered with global trend forecaster WGSN to provide stock status and pricing of individual items through the latter’s WGSN Instock system, which tracks and analyses ecommerce sites.
“When calculating consumer price indices, we gather information for clothing through a manual process of recording prices within stores,” said Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician for economic statistics at ONS. “But the ever-increasing speed of fashion retail, including quickly changing styles, means ensuring consistency and accuracy through this method, and maintaining long-term records, is challenging.
“We are now experimenting with a different approach, trialling the use of WGSN data to calculate indices for clothing and footwear. This gives us access to price data across a greater number of products on a daily basis rather than the existing monthly approach on sampled products.”
The WGSN Instock system uses big data to analyse more than 100 million SKUs from more than 12,000 brands and retailers across 400 product categories. Information is updated daily.
WGSN is owned by Ascential, which also owns Drapers.