Gadget kids: £7.5 billion of technology owned by children in the UK

  • The average age children receive their first smartphone is now nine years-old
  • £2.5 billion worth of devices taken to school regularly
  • A quarter (26 per cent) of claims, related to children damaging electronic items


Children across the UK own £7.5 billion worth of technology, with one in five (19 per cent) now receiving their first smartphone before the age of five, reveals new research1 from Churchill Home Insurance. This means each individual child owns technology worth on average £664.

More than 11.3 million (81 per cent) of the oldest children in UK families have at least one gadget, with tablets (46 per cent), smartphones (40 per cent) and handheld game consoles (27 per cent) the most popular items. Over a third (39 per cent), of these items2, collectively worth £3 billion, are taken to school on a regular basis, which has led to a significant number being broken or going missing.    

So far in 2020, almost £33 million3 has been claimed for as a result of damaged, lost or stolen gadgets, with over a quarter (26 per cent) of claims relating to children damaging items. The majority of home insurance claims (87 per cent) are for damaged items, with dropped phones being the most common gadget claim. Around one in 12 (eight per cent) are for stolen items and five per cent are for lost devices.

The items most commonly damaged include Bluetooth headphones and tablets (both 41 per cent), smartphones (39 per cent) and portable cameras (39 per cent). To replace these items can be extremely pricey for parents, with new items costing around £239 per child or £685 million collectively.

The pressure to ensure children have the latest gadgets has led to parents making sacrifices, with 4.4 million (13 per cent) giving their child their own phone, tablet or laptop without having a replacement, while a further 7.7 million (22 per cent) admit they would be willing to do this to ensure their child had the most up-to-date model. One in seven (14 per cent) parents, some five million people, have given their phone, laptop or tablet to their child when theirs was broken. 

With Christmas and birthdays being prime time for children to ask for a gadget, almost six million parents set money aside each month to prepare for this. The average saving for such gifts is £65 per month, or £784 a year, which accounts for three per cent of the average annual household disposable income. However, with some of the latest smartphones now costing upwards of £999, one in five parents (22 per cent) save more than £100 every month - £1,817 annually - in a bid to be able to provide the very best for their youngsters.

Pritpal Powar, Head of Churchill Home Insurance, said: “The cost of keeping children up-to-date with technology is a significant sum of money for parents. Which is why we sympathise with the millions who have experience of those gadgets being damaged or stolen. To limit the chances of this happening, we urge people to cover them with cases and screen protectors and encourage youngsters to keep them out of sight if they do take them out of the home. Having adequate out-of-home insurance cover will also mean parents have a safety net should something happen, and they need to replace items.”

Recognising how vital technology can be to keeping children entertained in these difficult times, Churchill has partnered with author and meditation teacher Sue Pickford, alongside parenting influencer and mum of three Giovanna Fletcher, to launch a new series of audio books aimed at teaching mindfulness techniques to children aged 4-7.

The series, “Little Chapters of Chill”, contains five books, each about Churchill, a cool, chilled out dog and focussing on a different mindfulness technique. Each story is just 12 minutes long, ideal for a young child’s attention span. The books written by Sue Pickford and read by Giovanna Fletcher, have been designed to keep children entertained while also supporting better mental health practices through mindfulness exercises.   


To download the Little Chapters of Chill audio books, please visit

For information on Churchill Insurance out-of-home cover, please visit

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Notes to Editor

1            Omnibus research conducted by Opinium among 2,000 UK adults, of whom 1,316 were parents, between the 30th October and 3rd November 2020.

2            Personal items only included in research

3            Analysis of Churchill Insurance claims data 

For further information please contact:

Chelsey Wheeler
Churchill PR Manager

Ext: 01651 832 095

Mobile: 07920080956

[email protected]


Founded in 1989, Churchill is now one of the UK's leading providers of general insurance, offering car, home, travel and pet insurance cover over the phone or on-line.

Churchill general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.  

Churchill and U K Insurance Limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.  

Customers can find out more about Churchill products or get a quote by calling 0300 200 300 or visiting