Average Brit will shell out £21,000 on electronic devices in lifetime

A study of 2,000 UK adults found that the average Brit will shell out almost £21,000 on electronic devices during their lifetime – including 16 mobile phones, 11 cameras and 13 laptops.

But 35 per cent admitted they upgrade simply to keep up with the latest tech rather than waiting until the old one no longer works before buying a new gadget.

And 26 per cent get a new phone every year to ensure they have the latest models, while 15 per cent buy something new just because it’s in the sale.

Despite this, 26 per cent confessed to rarely or never using the new features on the gadget.

It also emerged that 14 per cent of those polled admitted they don’t think about the impact buying new tech has on the planet, although 25 per cent claim they could not live without their devices.

Just under a fifth (19 per cent) feel pressure from tech brands to have the latest and best technology and 17 per cent said the same of social media.

Says Katy Medlock, UK General Manager at Back Market, which commissioned the research:

“It’s easy to get enticed by the latest designs and features after decades of exposure to big brand advertising. But we churn through so many gadgets in our lifetime and this constant consumption comes at a price.

“Most people are aware of the damage fast fashion and air travel can have, but our gadgets often fly under the radar despite two per cent of global carbon emissions coming directly from the production of new devices – compared to 3 per cent from air traffic.

“This is hefty. Consumerism is at its worst during Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the lead-up to Christmas, and while gadgets make excellent gifts, do they really need to be new?

“We want everyone to think about the choices they make. Buying a refurbished device that is “good as new” means you can still grab top-of-the-range tech, but at a lower cost to both you and the planet.”

The study also found that 44 per cent of adults think there isn’t enough awareness among consumers of the impact they have on the planet by repeatedly buying new tech throughout their lifetimes.

However, 36 per cent would reduce their tech consumption if they knew more about the impact it had on the environment.

Despite knowing the damage that it may cause to the planet, 16 per cent of respondents said they will still buy new tech.

It also emerged an average of one gadget gets thrown out each year, with 44 per cent admitting it is easier just to get a new device rather than get an old one repaired.

The average UK adult also has at least three gadgets lying around the house that they don’t use, with the most common being mobile/smartphones (42 per cent).


1.            Mobile/smartphones

2.            Charging cables

3.            Cameras

4.            Headphones

5.            Laptops

6.            Tablets

7.            Computer Mouse

8.            Games Consoles

9.            Computer keyboards

10.          TVs

Chris Price