Foresters Release: 7 million people will buy tech presents this Christmas, yet over half want family time away from gadgets

3rd December 2013

7 MILLION PEOPLE WILL BUY TECH PRESENTS THIS CHRISTMAS – YET OVER HALF WANT FAMILY TIME AWAY FROM GADGETS

• Over 7 million people will buy technology for their friends or family this Christmas
• Yet 55% wish they could spend more time together as a family without technology
• 61% experienced better family communications after a technology ban
• Foresters launch Tech Timeout to encourage quality family time

New research from Foresters, the member-focused financial services organisation which champions the wellbeing of families and communities, has shown that although 7,252,000 people intend to buy technology for their friends or family this festive season, 55% of families wish they could spend more time together as a family without technology.

With children spending 50 hours a week using technology and adults spending even longer (64 hours), Foresters has launched Tech Timeout: an initiative that encourages families to pledge to spend at least one hour a day together without technology. The benefits include better family communications (61% adults agree) and improved family relationships (38% agree).

Tech treats top Christmas wishlists
One in seven adults in the UK (14%) – equivalent to 7,252,000 people* – plan to purchase technology for friends or family this Christmas. On average, they will spend £215.25, generating £1.6 billion** of sales during the festive season.

  Intending to buy Average spend
Games for a console/PC

22%

£90.40

iPad/other tablet

20%

£213.24

Games console eg Xbox

16%

£250.55

Kindle/other e-reader

14%

£139.64

Smartphone

13%

£200.05

Laptop

13%

£344.99

TV

12%

£304.37

MP3 Player/iPod

10%

£160.59

Desktop

9%

£343.94

Basic mobile phone

8%

£104.76

AVERAGE

14%

£215.25

Console or PC games are the most popular tech presents, with over a fifth (22%) intending to purchase these at Christmas. The popularity of computer games could be because of their relatively low price – the average consumer will spend £90.40 on these this Christmas compared to £344.99 on a laptop.

Children glued to screens for 2 days a week
Children spend seven hours a day on technology, according to their parents’ estimates, amounting to over two full days a week (50 hours). While adults believe they spend 9 hours a day using technology, three and a half of these are spent on a laptop and/or desktop computer, suggesting adults’ jobs account for a significant proportion of their daily technology use.

  Adults  

Children

 
Technology use per day

Hours

Equivalent mins:

Hours

Equivalent mins:

TV

2.6

156

1.9

114

Laptop

2

120

1.1

66

Desktop computer

1.5

90

0.6

36

Smartphone

1

60

1

60

iPad/tablet

0.7

42

0.8

48

Computer/console games

0.4

24

0.8

48

MP3 Player/iPod

0.4

24

0.5

30

Kindle/other e-reader

0.3

18

0.2

12

Basic mobile phone

0.2

12

0.2

12

TOTAL

9.1

546

7.1

426

Children spend double the amount of time on computer or console games than their parents do (48 minutes vs. 24 minutes), although their parents watch over 40 minutes more TV. As a result, children are far more likely to play with their gadgets indoors (49%) than play outdoors (25%). This has not gone unnoticed by parents, as 36% wish their children would spend less time using technology.

However, adults themselves spend an average of 64 hours a week plugged in to technology, and almost half of adults (44%) admit that they would struggle to live without their smartphone. Around a fifth (18%) are guilty of checking their work emails during the weekend, with one in ten always doing this. As technology plays a growing role in everyday life – creating a generation of ‘digital natives’ who comfortably use technology on a daily basis – there are an increasing number of undiagnosed ‘digital addicts’ among both adults and children who are so reliant on their digital devices, they are neglecting to maintain a healthy balance between using technology and socialising outside of it.

Benefits of a Tech Timeout
Although technology can play a positive role in family activities, the average family will only spend 4.4 hours in a weekend socialising together without it. As a result, over half (55%) of families would like to increase the amount of time they spend together without technology.

Almost a third of families (28%) have banned mobile phones at the dinner table in their household, while 16% restrict how long is spent on the computer/internet. An additional 12% ban all gadgets, including mobile phones, from family events.

Of those who have implemented technology bans in their household, almost two thirds (61%) experienced better family communication while 38% have improved family relationships. A third (33%) found that their home environment was less stressful and 22% discovered their kids were able to do their homework or chores on time as a result. To experience these benefits for themselves, Foresters is encouraging all families to take a Tech Timeout this Christmas.

Steve Dilworth, Managing Director, Member Network UK Foresters, comments:
“Technology is a useful and integral part of modern life, and it certainly has a role to play in family activities. However, failure to unplug for just a short while each day can damage family communications and leave us feeling stressed and restless.

“It’s not surprising that so many people have technology at the top of their Christmas lists, but just like those Christmas chocolates and mince pies, everything should be enjoyed in moderation. Once you’ve had a go on these new gadgets for a couple of hours, why not switch off and head outside as a family? After all, Christmas is all about quality family time, and there’s no gadget that can improve family relationships quite like bonding time as a family.”

You can take your Tech Timeout at http://www.techtimeout.com.

– Ends –

NOTES TO EDITORS

For more information on Foresters or additional comment please contact: Laura O’Connell or Rachel Morrod at Wriglesworth on 0207 427 1400 or foresters@wriglesworth.com.

Methodology:
**Based on current ONS population estimates. Total adult UK population measured at 51.8 million, divided by 14% (the average percentage of those intending to buy technology of some sort this Christmas) = 7,252,000.
** Average spend (£215.25) x those intending to buy (7,252,000)

Over 1,100 people across the UK responded to an online survey in November 2013.
This was conducted by Wriglesworth Research – winner of several industry awards for use of research including the CIPR Awards, Golden Hedgehog Awards and PR Week Awards.

About Foresters:
At Foresters we believe in enriching the lives of our members, their families and the communities they live in. We’re member-based, family-focused, and community spirited.

Our products benefit both your family and your community. We champion the well-being of families through quality financial products, unique member benefits and inspiring community activities.

We share our financial strength with over one million members across the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. Throughout our 135-year history, our purpose has been to enrich the lives of members, their families and communities. The priorities remain today and will guide our future.

As an example, our work with Cash for Kids in their 2012 Mission Christmas Appeal helped over 250,000 children to have a better Christmas and granted £5.3m in cash, gifts and toys to local children.

Forester Life is responsible for funds under management of over £2.8bn* and is part of Foresters, the international financial services organisation.

Internationally, Foresters has over £11bn** funds under management and has been assigned an ‘A’ excellent rating by A.M. Best.***

Safeguarding our members’ interests is at the heart of what we do. Being financially strong and responsive, with sound governance and continuing professional service have always helped us to protect our members’ benefits.

*As at 31 May 2013
**As at 31 March 2013

***An “A” (Excellent) rating is assigned to companies that have a strong ability to meet their ongoing obligations to policyholders and have, on balance, excellent balance sheet strength, operating performance and business profile when compared to the standards established by A.M. Best Company. A.M. Best assigns ratings from A++ to F, A++ and A+ being superior ratings and A and A- being excellent ratings. In assigning the ratings for The Independent Order of Foresters (Foresters) and its subsidiaries Foresters Life Insurance Company and First Investors Life Insurance Company on July 3, 2013, A.M. Best stated that the outlook for all ratings is “stable”, which means they are unlikely to change in the near future. See ambest.com for the latest ratings.

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