Throw-away Brits needlessly upgrade tech products, except boilers

  • 3 in 5 admit upgrading items that are still in good working order
  • While 44% would upgrade a tv that still worked, less than half of this would choose to do the same with their boiler
  • In fact, 8 in 10 hate the idea of spending money to upgrade their boiler, despite potential savings on their energy bill from a new boiler

In our fast-paced world where innovative products are constantly being launched, new research from Hometree has found that the majority of Brits admitted they have upgraded a product just for the sake of it, even it was still in good working order. In a survey of over 2,000 UK adults, three in five (59%) admitted to upgrading a product needlessly. Of these people 35% said they just ‘fancied a change’, and 19% because they found a model that looked better.

The research found that while 44% would upgrade a perfectly good TV, 42% their wearable tech/fitbit, and 40% their smart speakers, half this number (21%) would choose to upgrade a boiler. Boilers, in fact, came at the bottom of the list of items people would choose to upgrade, behind washing machines (25%), fridges (26%) or vacuum cleaners (31%).

Further than this, people are most likely to be irritated at having to upgrade their boiler than any other household item. Eight in 10 (79%) people said they would be irritated to have to spend money upgrading their boiler. A quarter said they would be annoyed, with a further 54% extremely annoyed, ‘begrudgingly forking out’ their money.

This is within the context of the fact that people tended to upgrade their boilers far less frequently than other products. On average, the research suggested that people upgraded their boilers around every nine years, while people upgraded their TVs every 6, smart speakers every 4, and wearable tech every 3 years.

Simon Phelan, Founder and CEO, Hometree said: “Boilers are bottom of people’s lists when it comes to upgrades, despite them being the heart of the home, arguably the most important white good. For years, it was not just the expense, but the whole rigmarole of the process that was a pain – from the time getting quotes and installing it, to being sold extras you’re not sure you need, and so on. In 2019, things are different. The process can now take days not months, and prices through online-led installers such as Hometree are considerably less than they were with the established providers.

“Consumers can actually save up to 30% on their household bills with a new energy efficient boiler but the initial cost to purchase the boiler puts them off. Opting for finance options or Buy Now Pay Later options can mean that customers get the peace of mind of a new boiler and energy savings without eating into their savings.”

Upgrading products

Would upgrade even if it was in good working order Annoyed to have to upgrade Average renewal time (years)
Boiler 21% 79% 9.2
Washing Machine 25% 75% 6.5
Fridge 26% 74% 7.2
Hairdryer 31% 69% 5.1
Vacuum cleaner 31% 69% 5.6
Kettle 32% 68% 4.2
Smart Speaker (e.g. Amazon Echo, Sonos, Google Home, etc) 40% 60% 3.9
Wearable tech e.g fitbit/ apple watch / Garmin watch 42% 58% 3.4
Tablet (e.g. iPad, Kindle, etc) 44% 56% 3.9
TV 44% 56% 6.2
Mobile phone 46% 54% 3.1