Smart speakers are so popular the UK is using them to help calculate inflation. Every year, the UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS) adds top consumer products to its "basket of goods," a collection of goods and services that indicates how people are spending their money. Annually, popular items are added, and passé products tossed. So while smart speakers made the cut, hi-fi speaker systems got the axe.
This isn't totally surprising. In 2015, ONS added music streaming services to the basket. Now people are buying the smart speakers that allow them to stream. And as consumers opt for devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home, they're understandably less likely to purchase proper hi-fi systems.
Since 2014, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, computer game subscription services, e-cigarettes, headphones, mobile phone accessories, and digital game and computer software sales have made their way into the basket. Satellite navigation devices, CD-ROMs and DVD recorders have all been removed.
While we might take these everyday items for granted, the fact that they're in the UK's "basket of goods" means they actually have the power to affect things like interest rates, pensions and train tickets.