Tech-savvy Australians spending billions


Feature

Australians are now spending $37 billion and 1,650 hours online every year as connectivity plays a bigger role in our lives

Australians are now spending $37 billion and 1,650 hours online every year as connectivity plays a bigger role in our lives.

According to Suncorp’s Cost of Being Digitally Savvy report, Australians (18 – 64 years) spent an average of $2,465 (or $37 billion collectively) on technology services and digital devices over the past 12 months.

While connecting to the internet was revealed as the biggest expense ($1,428) followed by the purchase of digital devices ($772), the nation’s thirst for on-demand entertainment via TV subscriptions and apps totalled $265 per person.

Unsurprisingly, the report revealed Australia’s young digital natives also significantly contribute to the billion-dollar industry, with families (with children under 18) spending nearly a quarter more than the national average ($2,995), which was primarily driven by mobile phones and streaming devices.

While it’s no surprise many feel technology has become an essential part of life, Suncorp EGM Digital Distribution Tony Wessling said we’re spending more hours than ever before.

“The research found we spend between four to five hours online every day, which equates to nearly 68 days a year,” Mr Wessling said.

“While this may seem like a lot, it can be easily done considering we use technology for 70 per cent of our everyday activities like paying bills, banking, watching TV and keeping up to date with news.

“We just need to be mindful of the impact our digital reliance has on our back pocket, especially considering the data revealed 40 per cent of additional or unanticipated tech costs are covered by credit or dipping into savings.

Technology is one of many household expenses, and costs can easily increase given the ease of spending and accessibility. While we may view technology as a vital resource, like any expense it’s important we keep track of how much we’re spending, especially when it comes to apps and data.

Tony Wessling

Suncorp’s Behavioural Economist, Phil Slade, said we’ve embraced technology as a core part of our lives partly because of the way it’s made boring and mundane tasks simple.

“There is no doubt technology makes our lives easier and more convenient, with more than a third of us identifying it as an essential part of our lives,” Mr Slade said.

“Technology hasn’t only changed the way we manage our life administration, it’s completely transformed the way we connect, absorb news, be entertained and spend money.

“Our devices make complex and tedious things simple as everything we need is in the one spot. And when things are simple they feel logical and we feel more confident about making decisions.

“But with everything it’s about balance. The key is to discover ways to maximise the advantages of our digital life, while not missing the opportunities we get from the randomness of real life.”