Digital lives: we value our digital assets at £25 billion


In our recent survey of UK consumers it’s been found that we value our digital assets at £25 billion.

This is the sum total of our personal digital assets – ranging from photos of loved ones to episodes of our favourite TV programmes. But in spite of spending over £50 billion a year buying goods and services online, many of us are not doing enough to protect the digital assets we value and spend so much of our incomes on.

The survey of values and attitudes to our digital lives reveals that a third of us (31%) would not be able to replace some or any of the assets we have stored digitally if we lost them or if they were compromised in some way.

What’s most important to us?

Photos of our loved ones are top of the list of things we like to store digitally (73%) followed by personal emails or other messages (69%) and music (57%).

Women value their photos more than men (61% to 43%). Men are more likely than women to choose personal documents and media content, such as films or TV programmes, as the digital assets they would be most keen to get back if lost.

Treasured photos are also the things we would be most likely to pay to recover if lost (52%). In distant second place is personal information such as financial documents (19%), with the exception of people in London who rate their spreadsheets of financial documents as more important than treasured photos.

“Would you be able to replace your digital assets if you lost them? One in 3 people told us they wouldn’t”

Infographic: Digital lives

Digital lives

How do we protect our digital valuables?

On the face of it, we are keenly aware of the need to protect our most valuable digital assets.

Over a third of us (36%) use external hard drives at home and 29% use cloud services. But – perhaps surprisingly - we still like to fall back on paper copies, with 32% of consumers keeping paper copies to store our information. And some of us (9%) still don’t think any of the options are secure.

Perhaps contrary to expectations, the older generation are more security-savvy and less likely to use the same password (18%) for their various accounts and devices than the younger generation (29% of 18 to 34 year olds).

A digital after-life?

Finally, a quarter of consumers say that nobody would be able to access their digital content after their deaths. That’s a huge amount of paid-for, or sentimentally-valuable, digital content lost forever.

If we as individuals are becoming ever more reliant on digital assets, imagine how much more so it is for organisations. Protecting those digital assets, even when managed by other parties, is now an imperative that no business can ignore.