Auto Trader has announced a landmark deal with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which will see the firm’s data used as part of the official measure of inflation.
The marketplace’s pricing data will be used for experimental estimates in June and included in the headline inflation measures from next year.
The arrangement comes as both the new and used car markets continue to be among the main drivers of inflation in the UK.
It is hoped that by using Auto Trader’s data, the ONS will be able to more accurately represent the rise in prices of used vehicles.
Inflation in used car prices is currently calculated by tracking the prices of a sample of 35 car models at three different ages, taken from a manual of industry guide prices.
By utilising Auto Trader’s data, the ONS will significantly boost the quotes it uses in this area, to around 400,000 per month.
The aim is to allow the government agency to gain 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 valuations, as well as its monthly Retail Price Index, which is based on a daily pricing analysis of 900,000 vehicles.
It combines data from around 450,000 car listings every day with additional retailer forecourts and website data to ensure an accurate reflection of the live retail market.
Richard Walker, Auto Trader’s director of data and insights, said: ‘It is 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.’
Mike Hardie, ONS head of inflations, added: ‘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.’