Tea, T-shirts and television voted the most essential staples of modern life

Cars, fruits and vegetables were also voted as essential items the modern day person could not live without

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The Independent Online

Tea, TV and T-shirts are the top-ranked staples of modern life, according to Britons of all ages, a study has found.

The three items, along with cars and fruit and vegetables, were voted by most people as the items they cannot do without, the poll for eBay found.

The poll by eBay was carried out to mark their new scheme that allows private sellers 20 free listings per month on the online marketplace.

It was carried out to produce a decade-by-decade guide to the modern world to show the things people need – and don’t need – at different stages of their life, in addition to the five staples.

Those aged 18 to 20 ranked a pair of headphones as their most important gadget, ahead of the TV, and a musical instrument as their most important leisure object, and said bread was their most important food.

Those in their twenties said the TV was their most prized gadget (69 per cent), ahead of a laptop (47 per cent), PC (35 per cent) and radio (34 per cent), while 44 per cent of 20-year-olds said they owned a yoga mat and 44 per cent said tea was their most important drink.

Those in their thirties said that after a car, a bike was the item they were most unable to live without, while women said the item most likely to gather dust in their wardrobe was the mini skirt, with men naming the clothing item most likely to go unused as the tie.

One in 10 thirty-somethings (9.8 per cent) have a pair of rollerblades gathering dust on the shelf, the poll found.

Those in their forties, like all other age groups, ranked laptops as more important than tablets, and more people in this age group (56 per cent) scored them as more important than any other age group, while 69 per cent said their car was the lifestyle item they must have above all.

The radio is ranked as the must-have item by 48 per cent of fifty-somethings, while a third (32 per cent) own collectables and 31 per cent own a sewing machine.

Sixty-somethings rank the radio as their most important piece of technology after the TV, while average suit ownership among sixty-something men is 2.1 - higher than for any other age group other than 18 to 20-year-olds who own an average of 2.5.

And despite being a nation of tea drinkers, the poll found that those in their sixties start to prefer coffee.

Those in their seventies said a desktop computer was their most important piece of technology (62 per cent) other than the TV, while women over 70 own an average of 48 items of clothing compared to the 99 pieces owned by women aged under 20.

The study also found that Brits could recoup nearly £1,500 if they sold just some of the items they no longer need.

EBay spokeswoman Laura Wilkinson-Rea said: "It's fascinating to see how people's needs change as they grow older, and this study shows how we've come to rely on certain things, whatever life stage we have reached.

"However, things change, and we maybe could be a bit stricter on ourselves in ordering our lives, as we reach certain life stages."