Statistics Poland informs that due to the intensification of changes in the retail clothing and footwear market, it has been decided to change the way of defining the representative items selected for the consumer price survey within the division 031 of the COICOP2 classification. The new approach does not mean a change of the methodology of index compilation (it is compliant with the international guidelines), but concerns the selection of the key quality characteristics of the surveyed goods.
The basic methodological objective of compiling consumer price indices is the elimination of quality changes in the price indices compilations. However, in the case of clothing and footwear it is very difficult, and no detailed harmonized international recommendations exist in this regard. In addition, in the case of clothing and footwear, also fashion plays a very important role, which makes it even more difficult to assess the comparability of goods.
The new approach resulted in a significant verification of the set of representative items for the survey in 2018 for the division 03 (in around 75%). In 2017 the list of consumer goods and services for clothing and footwear observed within the retail price survey included 131 representative items. For the year 2018 this list has been slightly extended and includes 136 items. As a result of the verification:
- around 5,3% of the representative items have been removed, of which:
- items, which were no longer representative – around 3,8%,
- as a result of combining two previously observed representative items with similar characteristics – around 1,5%,
- around 32,1% new items have been introduced, of which:
- around 9,2% new representative items have been added,
- in the case of around 22,9% of the representative items the description has been changed, what makes their direct comparison with those observed in the previous years impossible,
- an update of the descriptions has been made for around 38,2% of the representative items.
The introduced solution will facilitate the separation of quality aspects from new trends in fashion, which are not treated as quality change and should not be eliminated from the compilations of price indices. Where possible, the precise descriptions indicating material composition of the surveyed goods have been prepared, forming narrow assortment groups homogenous in terms of quality.
The potential impact (if any) of the changes on the compiled consumer price indices will not be possible to asses due to the lack of the possibility of parallel conduct of the price survey following the two approaches.
The Spokesperson for the President of the Statistics Poland
/.../ Karolina Dawidziuk
1 Division 03 – Clothing and footwear
2 Classification of Individual Consumption by Purpose