Our customers

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

UK External Communications

Notes to editors:

  • For information on how Aviva is helping our people, customers and communities impacted by COVID-19 visit: www.aviva.com/covid-19-our-response/
  • We exist to be with people when it really matters, throughout their lives. We have been taking care of people for 325 years, in line with our purpose of being ‘with you today, for a better tomorrow’. In 2020, we paid £30.6 billion in claims and benefits to our customers. 
  • Aviva is invested in our people, our customers, our communities and our planet. In 2021, we announced our plan to become a Net Zero carbon emissions company by 2040, the first major insurance company in the world to do so. This plan means Net Zero carbon emissions from our investments by 2040; setting out a clear pathway to get there with a cut of 25% in the carbon intensity of our investments by 2025 and of 60% by 2030; and Net Zero carbon emissions from our own operations and supply chain by 2030. Aviva has been leading this agenda for decades: Aviva was the first international insurer to go operationally carbon neutral in 2006 and we are champions of renewable energy and energy storage at our offices, allowing us to achieve our 2030 carbon reduction target (70% reduction on 2010 levels) 10 years early. Find out more about our climate goals at www.aviva.com/climate-goals and our sustainability ambition at www.aviva.com/sustainability.
  • Aviva is a Living Wage and Living Hours employer and provides market-leading benefits for our people, including flexible working, paid carers leave and equal parental leave. Find out more at https://www.aviva.com/about-us/our-people/
  • We are focused on the UK, Ireland and Canada where we have leading market positions and significant potential. We will invest for growth in these markets. We will also transform our performance and improve our efficiency. Our transformation will be underpinned by managing our balance sheet prudently, reducing debt and increasing our financial resilience. We also have strategic investments in Singapore, China and India.
  • At 30 June 2021, total Group assets under management at Aviva Group are £522 billion and our Solvency II shareholder capital surplus is £12 billion. Our shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange and we are a member of the FTSE 100 index.
  • For more details on what we do, our business and how we help our customers, visit www.aviva.com/about-us 
  • The Aviva newsroom at www.aviva.com/newsroom includes links to our spokespeople images, podcasts, research reports and our news release archive. Sign up to get the latest news from Aviva by email. 
  • You can follow us on:
  • Twitter: www.twitter.com/avivaplc/
  • LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/aviva-plc
  • Instagram: www.instagram.com/avivaplc
  • For the latest corporate films from around our business, subscribe to our YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/aviva

      More from our Newsroom