The Office of National Statistics (ONS) today announced that it has added tablet computers, including Apple’s iPad, to the basket of goods and services, which are used to help calculate inflation rates and ensure consumers’ current UK spending remains represented.

The basket should contain all consumer goods and services purchased by households, matched against the prices set by every retailer that supplies them. With tablets now representing a “significant and growing market” in the UK, Apple’s bestselling iPad has been included in the basket, as will various Android and Windows-powered devices from the likes of HTC, Samsung and other vendors.

Whilst telephone, Internet and television services were already in the basket, the ONS says that communication bundle packages have also been included for the first time, as consumers are now opting for packages that combine services for a lower monthly price for their communication and viewing needs.

Interestingly, teenage fiction has also been added to the basket of goods and services, meaning sales of Twilight and Harry Potter books are now being tracked to better understand consumer spending in the UK.

The ONS says that the introduction of tablets “mirrors the evolution of computer equipment through desktop personal computers, laptops and now tablets, and they are being introduced to capture price changes in this rapidly expanding market.”

Some would argue that given Apple’s dominance in the tablet market, the basket of goods may only reflect sales of the iPad. However, Samsung has ramped up its tablet portfolio in the past twelve months and Amazon is rumoured to be positioning itself for the UK launch of the Kindle Fire later this year.

Smartphone devices are already being tracked, so it was only a matter of time until tablets were included. If you thought tablets represented a small market in the UK, the inclusion of such devices in the UK’s basket of goods to help calculate the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) and Retail Prices Index (RPI), may suggest otherwise.