Britons can save up to £1,500 a year by being digital-savvy

Britons with adequate digital skills can potentially save as much as £1,500 a year by having the ability to shop around and compare prices online.

But worryingly, research by Virgin Media O2 and the Good Things Foundation found one in five adults lack “basic” digital skills needed for everyday life.

The poll of 2,000 adults found only 54 percent consider themselves “tech savvy”. Meanwhile, 43 percent expressed difficulty in keeping up with the multitude of apps, online platforms, and software, with this number increasing to 58 percent among people aged 65 and above.

Helen Milner OBE, CEO of the Good Things Foundation said: “Since the pandemic, we’ve seen the digital divide deepen.

“People excluded from the internet are locked out of all of the economic benefits it brings, like saving money, improved job prospects and the ability to work flexibly – as well as the higher risk of loneliness.

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“This research confirms what we already know about the digital skills gap – with one in five adults lacking the most basic digital skills needed for everyday life. That’s why during our annual national campaign, Get Online Week, the National Digital Inclusion Network is hosting events for their local communities to help them get online.”

Ms Milner added: “This underpins the wider work Good Things Foundation is doing with Virgin Media O2 and our partners to get data, devices and digital skills to the people who need help the most. Together we can help fix the digital divide – for good.”

People can find their nearest centre through the Good Things Foundation’s Digital Inclusion Network map here.

The centres offer free digital skills training workshops, and in select locations, they provide a databank offering free mobile data to those in need.

To give an idea of the kind of savings a person can make by being digital-savvy, Virgin Media O2 found people could cut costs by as much as £47.20 a month, and up to £566.35 a year by ordering their food shop online, accessing a wide range of budget-friendly supermarkets.

According to the provider, the average annual food cost for a typical UK household reached around £5,343 in the middle of 2023 (based on the average of 2.3 people per household), including nearly £300 spent on non-alcoholic drinks. The average weekly food cost for the typical UK household is around £103.

It found shopping at Asda is 10.6 percent cheaper than shopping at Waitrose and based on the average weekly spend, the average person can save £10.89. This takes the average yearly savings up to £566.35.

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According to Compare the Market, switching car insurance providers through its website can save a person up to £374 a year, while people looking for home insurance can save up to £159 a year.

Gas and electric customers can save around £281 on their annual bill through using price comparison websites, such as Power to Switch. Meanwhile, shoppers could be missing out on nearly £200 a year by not using loyalty or reward schemes.

In total, a person could save as much as £130.66 a month by shopping around, which equates to an annual saving of £1,562.35.

Dana Haidan, chief sustainability officer at Virgin Media O2, commented: “We know for many people technology can be daunting – especially with new apps, online services and tools like AI appearing all the time.

“It can be hard to know where to get help with computers, phones and tablets, and how to get the best from the internet.

“That’s why as part of our goal to improve the digital skills of six million people by the end of 2025, we’re offering hundreds of free digital skills lessons at community organisations across the UK with Good Things Foundation.

“We want to help people feel more confident and capable online – whether it’s learning how to book online medical appointments, uploading a CV to a jobs site or video calling a loved one.”

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