When was the last time you wore a suit? If you’ve spent much of the past two years working from home, it’s probably been a while.
Today, the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) shared its views and put the men’s suit in the wardrobe of history, removing it from the basket of goods and services that it uses to track the rate of inflation.
By collecting data on the evolution of the cost of a representative selection of consumer goods, the ONS is able to measure the evolution of the cost of living.
Movements in consumer price inflation are reflected in changes in the overall cost of what is known as the “consumption basket”.
“Press and anecdotal evidence confirm the decline in use, accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic and working from home,” the ONS said in a note explaining the decision to downgrade the classic business suit.
Changing retail habits were also behind the suit’s downfall, the ONS said, as the loss of physical department stores and retailers’ decisions to stop selling suits altogether made price data difficult to collect.
The suit’s place in the ONS basket will be taken by a “men’s formal jacket or blazer” item, instead.
Suits released, sports bras
Suits aren’t the only item to pull out of the basket in 2022.
Individual cakes – listed in the data as “doughnuts” – have been phased out as homebound consumers have turned to buying multipacks instead, the UK statistics agency said.
Other social changes – some pandemic-related, some longer-term – have been reflected in the items added to the cart.
Meatless sausages join the growing list of vegan and vegetarian alternatives to the shopping cart, as consumers are tempted to shy away from animal products over ethical and environmental concerns.
Antibacterial wipes are also appearing in the 2022 basket, to “represent current cleaning trends” and increased demand for antibacterial products in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ONS said.
Sports bras and collars for pets also made the list in 2022, reflecting consumer interest in fitness and the number of pets adopted during the pandemic.
A total of 19 items were added to the basket in 2022, the ONS said, while 15 were removed.
Inflation rates have hit long-term record highs in recent months as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global supply chains has helped drive up costs in crucial sectors, including transportation shipping and fuel.
In the UK, inflation currently stands at 5.4%, its highest level in 30 years, and further rises are expected as the war in Ukraine and sanctions against Russia put pressure on food supplies. oil and gas from Europe.