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Auto Trader becomes economic barometer for the Office for National Statistics

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Auto Trader has struck-up a new partnership with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which will see the used car marketplaces data become an official economic barometer for the authority.

The ONS will use data from Auto Trader to feed its measures of inflation, including the Consumer Prices Index in a move which the online used car marketplace described as an “important milestone” which highlighted growing influence of its pricing data.

The used car pricing data will be utilised for experimental estimates in June and included in the headline inflation measures from next year as the ONS aims to more accurately represent the rise in prices of used cars, one of the main drivers of UK inflation in 2021 and 2022.

Currently, inflation in car prices is calculated by tracking the prices of a sample of 35 car models at three different ages, taken from a manual of industry guide prices.

Auto Trader said that, through using its data, the ONS will be able to utilise 400,000 monthly price quotes to better understand trends.

Auto Trader’s director of data and insight, Richard WalkerRichard Walker, Auto Trader’s director of data and insights, said: “It’s a privilege to support the ONS in further strengthening its inflation statistics.

“At Auto Trader, we work with over 13,500 automotive retailer partners, list an average of 450,000 privately and trade advertised vehicles, and receive around 65 million consumer visits each month.

“This scale gives us a very unique view of the automotive retail market, which means at a time when the market is moving at an incredible pace, we’ll be able to provide the ONS with the most accurate pricing data and insights available, in almost real-time, in the same way as we do for all of our partners.”

The ONS’s head of inflation Mike Hardie said: “The car market accounts for an important element of consumer expenditure.

“Auto Trader’s data will give us new insights into the reasons behind changing prices, and better understand trends - for example by age or by fuel type. 

“It will also help to make the UK’s official inflation statistics among the most technically advanced in the world.”   

Back in April UK inflation hit 7% and the Bank of England has warned that inflation could reach 10% this year, raising expectations of further rate rises on the back of increases from 0.1% to 1% since December.

Last week's rise came less than two months after rates were hiked to 0.75%, sparking criticism of a move that would criticised for place “more pressure on household finances”.

Auto Trader’s data and insights are already used by the Bank of England, Department for Transport (DfT), HM Treasury, Office of Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV), and Number 10 to help predict and respond to the direction of the market.

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