UK love for gadgets hits a record £74 billion

23 November 2007
The UK's gadget addiction has reached giant proportions after it is estimated that Britons have amassed a gadget mountain worth a staggering £74 billion, a figure that is likely to soar after Christmas, according to First Direct.

UK homes now accommodate over 400 million pieces of high tech equipment equating to an average of 16 gadgets in every household. From the ubiquitous MP3 player and the myriad of games consoles constantly being launched on the market, to innovations such as high definition plasma televisions and top of the range home entertainment systems coupled with the vast marketing budgets being plundered to sell the products, Brit's are hording an abundance of gadgets in their homes.

The UK nation spends more money on televisions than any other gadget at a phenomenal £29 billion, whilst £10 billion is spent on computers and laptops.

The reliance on technology now extends far beyond the entertainment arena after the research revealed that over 16 million people claim to regularly use the internet for their banking and a further eight million people regularly shop online.

Furthermore, it is thought that Christmas online spending will increase by 42 per cent year-on-year. Following the Annual Christmas Retail Survey published this month by Deloitte, as Christmas goes electric, Brits are likely to be spending even more this year as the cost of technological products rockets.

Tarlok Teji, head of retail at Deloitte, comments: "This year, Christmas will go electric as consumers embrace the digital age. High street players are responding to this growing trend. Our research shows a huge growth in the number of retailers providing online stores this year compared to previous years (51 per cent in 2006, versus 72 per cent in 2007).

"Further evidence of the move towards all things high tech can be seen in the type of goods consumers plan to buy. Video games consoles such as Wii and iPods are leaping up the gift lists. 44 per cent of consumers will buy a computer game for friends or family up from 38 per cent in 2006, and 26 per cent expect to purchase an MP3 player this year up from 20 per cent in 2006.”

However, under a new European Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), consumers are going to have to dispose of their old gadgets more carefully. The concern is that many electrical items contain hazardous materials that could leak into the environment.

While most of the burden will fall on local authorities and the producers of the goods, consumers may end up taking back some of the costs through council tax and increased prices on electrical items.

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