March 12, 2013 / 12:32 PM / 6 years ago

Champagne out, ebooks in as Britain updates inflation basket

A Morrisons supermarket worker arranges champagne bottle at a store in London November 21, 2012. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

LONDON (Reuters) - Champagne is losing its fizz for British consumers who would rather be curled up with a book downloaded onto their eReaders, according to government statisticians.

The Office for National Statistics, which bases its monthly calculation of inflation on 700 goods and services priced in 150 areas of the country, said sales of books for digital devices represented a “significant and growing market”.

Statisticians update the basket of items every year so the contents accurately capture changing trends in spending.

The annual rejig also shows what British consumers are eating and drinking - and what they are not.

With Britons perhaps not having much to celebrate as the country flirts with its third recession since 2008, champagne has been taken out, and it has been replaced by sales of white rum, which the statistics office said was increasingly popular with young drinkers.

Blueberries, continental sliced meats and packaged stir-fry vegetables have all made their debut in the basket.

On the Do-it-yourself front, self-assembly kitchen wall units are being added to the basket, while basin taps make their exit.

As well as ebooks, Britons are increasingly buying digital television recorders. These devices, which allow people to record and rewind live television, have replaced standard Freeview receiver boxes.

In another sign of the times, packs of disposable contact lenses are also entering the basket, replacing pairs of soft contact lenses.

Reporting by Christina Fincher; Editing by John Stonestreet

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