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Brits Have Spent 33bn On Smart Tech During Pandemic

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UK households spent a staggering £33 billion on smart devices in the last year[1], according to new research from, the comparison and switching service.  

A quarter of Brits (27%)[2] revealed they now have four or more smart device apps on their phone yet only a third (31%) said that the gadgets made their lives easier[3].

Despite this, the smart tech trend is on an upward swing, with 38% of Brits planning to purchase even more smart devices over the next twelve months[4].

TV’s, tablets and smart speakers were revealed as the UK’s most popular tech items after smartphones, with a quarter of UK households owning at least one of each. But the gadget that’s had the most dramatic rise in popularity is the smart watch, now owned by one in five people - double the amount since 2019[5]. 

The study also revealed that some Brits are not using smart tech devices to their full potential. Two fifths of smart doorbell owners (38%) admit they don’t actually use the designated app to control settings or check the device footage[6]. 

Similarly, more than six million Brits have spent money on smart light fittings, yet only half (57%) actually use the app to control their lighting[6]. 

Revealed: The UK’s top 10 most popular smart devices vs actual smart app usage


Most popular smart devices

% of Brits that own at least one

% of device owners that actually use their smart apps


Smart phone 




Smart TV




Smart tablet




Smart speaker




Smart watch




Smart light bulbs




Smart plugs/timers




Smart CCTV/security




Smart doorbell




Smart display




Smart toothbrush




Smart washing machine




When it comes to wasted purchases, smart lawn mowers (33%), smart locks (32%) and smart tumble dryers (31%) are the top three most regretted by Brits, with a third preferring the original, ‘non-smart’ versions[7].

Unsurprisingly, some 18-34 year olds haven’t even heard of some pre-smart era devices. 46% don't know what an analogue radio is, 40% have never heard of an analogue TV or a VHS player. Meanwhile a third of under 35s have no idea what an egg-timer is[8]. 

Catherine Hiley, mobiles and tech expert at says: “Smart devices are meant to be interactive and are equipped to adapt and change at the tap of a finger - from adjusting the colour of your smart lighting, to checking footage from your doorbell or security cameras. 

“Unfortunately it seems that some consumers are purchasing smart tech without really understanding the extent of its capabilities.  

“With two in five Brits planning to purchase new smart gadgets over the next year, it’s worth fully researching which devices and apps will suit you before taking the plunge and then regretting a purchase.”

Find out which smart device you need and how to run a smart home smoothly here.

Opinium surveyed a sample of 2,000 UK adults from 9th-13th April 2021. Figures have been calculated to show a national representative using the ONS figure for adults (18+) in the UK: 52,673,433

  1. Respondents were asked ‘How much have you spent on smart technology in your home over the last 12 months?’ The average across all respondents was £641.40. £641.40 x 52,673,433 UK adults = £33,784,739,926. Respondents were asked ‘Which of the following smart devices do you now own?’ Items were: Smart phone, TV, tablet, speaker, watch, light bulbs, plugs and times, CCTV/cameras, doorbell, display, toothbrush, washing machine, fitness equipment, fridge, hot drink machine, hoover, tumble dryer, locks, lawn mower, garden sprinklers, other, none, don’t know. Removing smartphones, the quantity of other smart devices ticked by each respondent were as follows: 1 device (18%), 2 devices (21%), 3 devices (18%), 4 devices (10%), 5 devices (7%), 6 devices (5%), 7 devices (3%), 8 devices (2%) 9+ devices (2%). Average: 2.8 devices per person.

  2. Respondents were asked ‘You mentioned that you use your smartphone or tablet to control one or more of your smart devices, how many smart device apps do you have on your phone?’ 27% of respondents answered 4 or more. 

  3. Respondents were asked ‘Thinking about your smart devices which, if any, of the following statements are true to you?’ Only 31% of respondents ticked ‘smart devices have made my life easier’. 

  4. Respondents were asked ‘Of the smart devices you don’t currently have, are you planning to buy any of these items within the next 12 months?’ 38% of respondents ticked at least one smart device. 

  5. Respondents were asked to tick which smart devices they owned in 2018 and now. 12% of respondents owned smart watches in 2018 compared to 22% of respondents owning one now. 

  6. Respondents were also asked ‘Of the smart devices you have, which do you control/access/view from a specific app on your smartphone or tablet?’ 62% of doorbell owners (9% of UK adults) use their phone or tablet app to control the device, security cameras (58% of the 9% of population), lighting (57% of the 12% of population) and smart watches (55% of the 22% of population).

  7. Respondents we asked ‘Of the smart devices you now own, do you prefer the original non-smart version or the modern smart tech version?’ Only respondents who own each item were asked this question. 33% of smart lawn mower owners prefer their non-smart originals, 32% preferred their non-smart locks and 31% preferred their non-smart tumble dryers.

  8. Respondents were asked ‘ Which of the following items have you heard of?’ Items were: DVD Player, Alarm clock, Freeview Box, Egg timer, VHS player, Analogue TV, Analogue radio. Of the respondents aged 18-34: only 54% had heard of an analogue radio, analogue TVs (60%), VHS player (60%), egg timer (63%), Freeview box (65%), Alarm clock (71%) and DVD player (79%). 

  9. Source: Finder 

Source :

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18 June 2021

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