Vaping in vogue as Kiwis hang up on cordless phones

People are spending more on vaping, including e-cigarettes, but less on fading technology such as cordless phones, CDs, and travel guides, Stats NZ said today.

As a result of these changes in what the typical New Zealander buys, the consumers price index (CPI) basket of goods and services used to measure inflation is being updated after a three-yearly review.

“The CPI basket reflects New Zealand society and how tastes and spending patterns change over time,” prices index development team manager Fiona Smillie said.

“This time, e-cigarettes are among the additions to the CPI basket.”

In 2018/19, 21.2 percent of adults tried an electronic cigarette, up from 18.5 percent in 2017/18 and 16.2 percent in 2015/16, according to Ministry of Health data .

In the future, the changing costs of vaping will feed into the overall measure of general inflation.

“This growing trend in vaping coincides with rising prices for tobacco cigarettes and declining rates of smoking,” Ms Smillie said.

“One in eight adults (close to half a million people) are regular cigarette smokers in New Zealand, but that has trended down over the last 40 years from one in three adults.”

Another addition to the CPI basket of goods and services is exercise equipment.

“This includes everything from exercise bikes and treadmills, to weights,” Ms Smillie said.

Old tech leaves inflation basket

Some older technology items have dropped out of the inflation basket, ranging from cordless phones, home line calls to cellphones or overseas, memory cards, and compact discs.

“While people are spending less on things like cordless phones and travel guides, you can still buy them – they are just no longer in the basket used to measure overall inflation,” Ms Smillie said.

The change reflects spending patterns last year, so people spent less on travel guides even before COVID-19 hit New Zealand in early 2020, and international travel effectively stopped .

The advent of ‘low or no cost’ ways of talking to people through instant messages or video calls, using services like Skype, Messenger, and WhatsApp, coincides with people spending less on home phone lines to make international or cell phone calls.

“As a result, those services have also dropped out of the CPI basket,” Ms Smillie said.

“Several items of children’s clothing were also removed from the basket of items we price for the CPI due to low expenditure. Boys’ sweatshirts and underwear and girls’ summer nightwear are cheaper, meaning people spend less on these products.”

See Consumers price index review: 2020 for the full report.

See Summary of changes to the consumers price index basket 2020 for a video explaining these changes.

The new consumers price index basket – what’s in and what’s out?


  • e-cigarette devices
  • e-cigarette refills
  • surgeon’s fees
  • exercise equipment.


  • boys’ sweatshirts
  • boys’ underwear
  • girls’ summer nightwear
  • entertainment units
  • long-distance train fares
  • telephones, cordless
  • home telephone international call services
  • home telephone homeline to cellphone call services
  • home theatre and stereo systems
  • pre-recorded compact discs
  • memory cards
  • travel guides
  • computer printer paper, one ream.

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/Stats NZ Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.