February 2015 editorial

HiFi out of the market basket of goods and services!

[Consumer market basket]

Author: Lucio Cadeddu
Published: February, 2015

I believe everyone is familiar with the concept of the market basket. No, not the one in the pic above but the basket of consumer goods, used to define the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This basket is a set of consumer goods and services, i.e., it is a typical sample of goods and services, offered in the consumer marketplace. The consumer basket is hence the basis set for the definition of the Consumer Price Index.

This list of items and services used for such an analysis normally contains a number of the most commonly bought food and household goods. Generally each Country determines its own basket. The variations in the prices of the items of the basket from month to month give an indication of the overall development of price trends.

Inflation is an increase in the general price level of goods and services (of a given basket) in an economy over a period of time, normally with variations measured on a monthly basis. To measure inflation, the price change of such a basket of representative goods and services is analyzed and typically presented as a percentage increase or decrease against the measure of the previous period.

Inflation measures are often modified over time, be it for the relative weight of goods in the basket, or in the way in which goods and services from the present are compared with goods and services from the past. In Italy this happens annually. New products may be introduced and older products disappear, and this will be reflected by the contents of the market basket. Indeed this is exactly what happened in Italy few days ago, when the ISTAT (the National Institute for Statistics) released the new 2015 basket: HiFi systems have disappeared from the ISTAT market basket! And not only are HiFi systems no longer included, even DVD players/recorders and GPS navigation devices are no longer listed as well. New goods are, for example, gluten-free pasta and cookies and, hear hear!!!, even non alcoholic beer!!! Click here for the official press release (in English).

Is this just another sign of the times? You bet! According to this new composition of the Italian market basket consumers spend more on gluten-free goods and non alcoholic beer than on HiFi systems. Considering how expensive a good HiFi system can be...well, you get the picture! :-)

For sure, this is the proof (did we really need another one?) that HiFi components are no longer attractive to the average consumer. People listen to music via portable devices, mainly smartphones. For this reason high-resolution music players like Neil Young's Pono and similar mobile devices might be the future of the HiFi market. Or maybe not, I believe sooner or later people will re-discover the joy of relaxed home listening. The continuous growth of vinyl sales seems to be a signal in this direction. Certainly you can't play vinyl on a mobile device, though funny portable LP players are now available. For example, Crosley catalogue includes several - rather funny I'd say - portable LP players. Below is the 79.95$ Crosley Revolution. Antiskating...who really needs that? :-)

[Crosley Revolution turntable]
79.95$ Crosley Revolution portable vinyl player, please notice the carrying handle at the right!

Now, probably we (and you) are among the few who still prefer alcoholic beer (and wine, especially good Italian wine!!!), good HiFi played at home, fast and noisy cars and motorbikes, real sex vs virtual simulation...we don't particularly like this The last of the Mohicans attitude but we are so strongly determined to survive :-) Aren't you?

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© Copyright 2015 Lucio Cadeddu - www.tnt-audio.com