Britons waste £52bn on gadgets they can't use

Technology-mad Britons are wasting £52 billion every year on gadgets they cannot operate properly, a survey said today.

Despite UK consumers splashing out an average of £3,065 each year on electronics, the research by Sky HD highlighted the significant gadget gap between spending and usage.

The nationwide poll of 3,000 people revealed although consumers made the most of their traditional electrics - such as microwaves and washing machines - half the functions on their higher-tech gadgets were left idle.

Expensive new high-definition (HD) TVs proved particularly costly, with nearly half (47%) of those surveyed unaware an HD TV needs to be connected to an HD set-top box to see the benefits. Two per cent even believed you needed to be born with HD Ready eyesight to watch the new format.

Stuff magazine's editor, Fraser Macdonald, said: "It's amazing how much money people are wasting by not using things to their full potential.

"An HD TV is an essential purchase, for example, but it'll be so much better if you hook it up to a decent HD set-top box, such as a Sky+HD box, a Blu-ray player and a surround sound speaker set-up."

But the picture across the UK revealed some regional anomalies. The least tech-savvy city was Glasgow, with Glaswegians using just 42% of the functions available on their gadgets.

In contrast, Wolverhampton's residents got the most value for their money, utilising almost 80% of their gadgets' abilities.

The results also supported a couple of old gender stereotypes, with 63% of women reading the instruction manual compared with just 54% of men, and males half as likely to seek help if their technology failed.

The £52 billion gadget gap was calculated by the average annual spend on gadgets, divided by the average number of unused features, multiplied by the number of households in the UK.

:: 3,000 people in the UK were surveyed by One Poll between February 19 and 22.