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Tech Nation: number of internet-connected devices grows to 10 per home

But traditional games and pastimes increase alongside tech.

  • 26% increase in internet-enabled devices in UK homes since 2017.
  • UK homes without a single book fall from 10% to 8% - but more than 2 million homes have no books.
  • Board games, dominoes and playing cards grow in popularity.
  • Half of families text one another in the same home.

The average UK home now has 10.3 internet-enabled devices, equating to more than 286 million(1) nationally, according to a new study from Aviva.

The research, which maps changing possessions in UK homes, finds the average number of connected appliances per UK home has increased by 26% in the last three years. A similar study released by the insurer in January 2017, revealed UK homes typically housed 8.2 such devices.

Unsurprisingly, the presence of children increases the number further. A home with three children now typically hosts 15.4 internet-enabled items.

The tally includes computers, tablets, phones, games consoles, smart TVs and other connected devices such as security cameras and remotely-operated thermostats.

The impact of this technology is clear from the way families communicate with one another.


Almost half of people surveyed said they text members of their family who live in the same home (when both are at home at the same time).

A further 45% make phone calls to them, 13% video call and 7% make use of voice-activated assistants.

A resurgence for retro pastimes

However, in spite of this glut of tech, there’s evidence that more traditional pursuits are growing in popularity too.

While the average number of hard copy books has stayed remarkably static since 2017, at 104 per home, the number of properties without a single book has fallen from 10% to 8%. Although this suggests that more than 2 million(2) UK homes still have no books whatsoever.


Board games are now resident in three quarters of UK homes.


Compared to two thirds, three years ago.

The proportion of UK homes with packs of playing cards and dominoes has increased too: playing cards are present in 75% of UK homes in 2020, vs 73% in 2017, while dominoes are in 40% of homes in 2020 vs 34% in 2017.

The average number of e-books has fallen slightly, with 28 per home, compared to 34 three years ago, while 52% of households have no e-books, similar to 50% in 2017.

Gareth Hemming, MD for Personal Lines, Aviva General Insurance says: “It’s fascinating to see how home contents have changed in just three years, and no doubt will continue to evolve. But while technology is developing and the number of connected devices is growing, it’s reassuring to see that people are still enjoying traditional entertainments like books and board games.

“Whatever their possessions, it’s important that people think about how they can protect them and make sure their cover is right for their needs. Accidental damage is our biggest driver of home contents claims, so people with a lot of tech devices may consider choosing insurance with this type of cover – particularly if there are children around! And if people have a lot of portable tech devices such as phones and tablets, they may think about cover which protects belongings outside of the home.

“Every home is as individual as its owners. We just want to make sure that should the unexpected happen, there’s cover in place to help put things right.”

Tech savvy: Expect the unexpected

Contents insurance is designed to cover unpredictable events. So while most insurers won’t cover tech items which have developed a fault or failed due to wear and tear, accidental damage cover can usually help if there’s an unexpected breakage. The following are real examples of claims settled by Aviva in 2019:

  • Distracted by her bickering children, a customer put her phone on the roof of her car and drove off. She returned later and found the phone, but unfortunately it had been driven over. Thankfully the claim was quickly settled and a replacement phone delivered.
  • A customer was taking a photo of their dog in the garden. They stepped backwards to get a better view - and landed in a water feature. Sadly the camera didn’t survive the dip, but the claim was quickly settled.
  • Another large pooch caused a problem when he tried to squeeze his way behind his owner’s TV. The gap wasn’t quite big enough and he caused the television to fall over, breaking the screen.
  • It was tech double trouble for one customer when her children were arguing over the television channel. One child ended up throwing a tablet at the TV, breaking both the TV screen and the tablet.
  • And finally, a cautionary tale for those who drink and type: one customer was working in a pub when someone accidentally spilled a pint of beer over their laptop. Happily, the laptop was quickly replaced.

- ENDS -


Findings are according to a survey of 4,004 adults, randomly selected from across the UK, carried out in December 2019 by Censuswide research.
(1) Based on 27.8 million households in the UK according to ONS data.
(2) Based on ONS data of 27.8 households. Eight per cent is equivalent to 2,224,000 households. 

Media enquiries:

Sarah Poulter

Group External Communications

Notes to editors:

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