DVD players and desktop PCs usurped by smart tech

DVD players and desktop PCs are being ditched in favour of smart TVs and smart watches, but the number of people buying tablets and e-readers have levelled out, new figures have revealed.

Ownership of DVD players plummeted to just 64 per cent of households this year, while 78 per cent of people now have a smartphone, compared to just 17 per cent in 2008, according to data published by Ofcom. The figures also showed less than a third of homes now have desktop PCs, while only just over a quarter give room to an MP3 player such as an iPod.

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For the first time, the communications watchdog now measures ownership of smart speakers, which are owned by 13 per cent of households and virtual reality headsets, which have been bought by just 5 per cent of families. The first VR headset went on sale in the UK in 2015 – a year earlier than smart speakers, which have been quicker to capture the imagination of tech shoppers.

Other emerging trends include wearable tech such as smart watches and fitness trackers. One in five households now use these devices, while ownership has been doubling every year since 2016. Ofcom said the rise of these devices comes as more and more people need a constant connection to the internet, with internet users claiming to spend an average of 24 hours a week online.

Ofcom’s director of market intelligence Ian Macrae said: “As technology evolves and transforms how we live our lives, the devices we rely on are constantly changing. The growth in popularity of streaming services has created tremendous demand for connected TVs, which for many people are replacing DVD players, and the smartphone is replacing several other devices at once.

“Smart speakers really took off last year and along with other smart home devices will again be ones to watch this year.”

Ofcom’s research also revealed seven in ten adults now shop online, with around half of all internet users doing more of their shopping this way. Two in five adults use their mobile to shop online and just under a quarter do so during their commute.

Delivery still seems to be favoured over collection, with less than half of people using a ‘click and collect’ service. Only one in five people (19 per cent) collecting something from a parcel locker. Most people are choosing next-day delivery rather than paying for same-day delivery. A smaller proportion, just 10 per cent, buy something online and have it delivered within two hours.