Auto Trader data to power Office for National Statistics’ official measures of inflation

Monday 16th May 2022, London – Underlining the scale and accuracy of Auto Trader’s market pricing data, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) will soon begin using it to make its official measures of inflation more robust, including the Consumer Prices Index. Auto Trader’s pricing data, which will be utilised for experimental estimates in June and included in the headline inflation measures from next year, will more accurately represent the rise in prices of used cars, one of the main drivers of inflation over the past year.

The ONS is the UK’s largest independent producer of official statistics and the recognised national statistical institute of the UK; the partnership marks an important milestone in its programme of transformation across its consumer price statistics. At present 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. Utilising Auto Trader’s data will significantly boost the quotes it uses in this area, to around 400,000 monthly price quotes, helping to provide new insights into the reasons behind changing prices, and the potential to better understand trends.

The ONS will benefit from the same data set that powers Auto Trader’s award winning valuations, as well as Auto Trader’s monthly Retail Price Index (RPI), which is based on a daily pricing analysis of 900,000 vehicles.  It combines data from circa 450,000 car listings every day with additional retailer forecourts and website data (manufacturer, fleet and leasing disposal prices and pricing data from over 3,000 car dealership websites and data from major auction houses across the UK), ensuring it’s the most accurate reflection of the live retail market.

The collaboration with the ONS represents another example of how the influence of Auto Trader’s data and insights extend beyond the traditional automotive industry. In addition to its data being used by a number of government bodies and departments to inform policy and forecasts, including the Bank of England, Department for Transport, HM Treasury, Office of Zero Emission Vehicles, and Number 10 itself, Auto Trader’s data is used widely in the insurance and finance sectors.

Commenting on the partnership, Richard 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.”

Commenting on why it chose Auto Trader’s data, ONS 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.”   

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