13.5 million of the UK’s most useful tech items are gathering dust

New research from mobile payment service Paym has revealed the UK’s top ten tech items and how many of them are simply not being used 

More than 13.5 million of the UK’s most useful gadgets and innovations are not being used in UK homes, according to new research published today (10 November 2017) by Paym, the UK’s mobile payment service.

The internet was rated as the UK’s most indispensable technology by the people that use it – more than half (54%) said they “couldn’t live without it”. Web access was closely followed by laptops (40%), email (39%) and smartphones (37%) in the usefulness stakes, showing that the UK public is not keen to ‘unplug’ from their connected devices anytime soon.

A large amount of these tech items can end up lying around the house unused. In fact, out of the top ten tech products and services there were upwards of 13.5 million items that people never or rarely use. This includes 17% of the UK’s headphones, 16% of smartwatches and 5% of microwaves.


Item % of owners who say they ‘couldn’t live without it’ How many are ‘not being used’[1]
1 Internet 54 62,000
2 Laptop 40 933,000
3 Email 39 269,000
4 Smartphone 37 694,000
5 Microwave 26 1,223,000
6 Robot vacuum cleaner 19 207,000
7 Landline phone 18 5,783,000
8 Headphones 17 2,684,000
9 Fitness tracker 17 373,000
=10 Spotify 16 912,000
=10 Smartwatch 16 363,000
total 13,500,000


[1] Percentage of respondents that own the item and say they ‘never use’ or ‘rarely use’ the item, multiplied by the number of UK Households in 2016 (27.1 million – source: ONS)

The research was carried out for Paym’s “you’ve got it, so use it” campaign, to highlight how many useful items are being underused. Paym is available to around 25 million people through their existing mobile banking app, making it possible to pay back friends and family using just a mobile number between 15 banks and building societies. More than £500m has already been sent using the service since it launched – the campaign is looking to make more people aware of this easy way to pay from your mobile without a sort code or account number.

Craig Tillotson, Executive Chairman of Paym said: “People love their Tech gadgets, and yet it seems like millions of people aren’t getting the most out of them, with 13.5 million hardly being used. Paym is a really easy way to make sure you’re getting the most out of your smartphone – what could be easier than paying a friend back using just their mobile number and being sure you’re paying the right person?

“More than 25 million people already have access to Paym through their existing banking app. Using it to settle up with friends could give you more time to dust off that long forgotten smartwatch or robot vacuum cleaner and make sure you are getting the most our of your tech!

And if you want to receive payments via Paym, go to your bank’s website or app to register your own mobile number to make sure you can get as well as give.”


Find out how to use Paym, with this quick ‘how to video‘ , or watch the online ad campaign:

2,600 adults aged 16+ were interviewed from 27 June to 6 July 2017 via OnLineBus, an Internet omnibus survey, for this story.

There were 27.1 million households in the UK in 2016. Source: ONS

  • Paym is the UK’s mobile payments service. It’s a simple, secure way to send and receive payments directly to friends, family and small businesses using just a mobile number.
  • Paym is offered by fifteen banks and building societies, covering more than nine out of 10 current accounts, or 25 million people.
  • More than 4.2 million people have registered their mobile number to receive payments via Paym and the service is available on more than nine out of 10 current accounts, with over 500m sent since the service launched in April 2014.
  • Paym is designed to be accessed through your bank or building society’s existing mobile banking or payments app, so it couldn’t be easier, and it’s just as quick and secure.
  • Every time you send a payment, Paym lets you verify the name of the recipient before you confirm the payment, so you can check you’re sending money to the right person.
  • Registering your mobile number with your bank or building society is quick, easy and free. Find out how at paym.co.uk/get-paym . For more information go to paym.co.uk