Latest News

Fears of digital exclusion: Dip in tech sales a concern for digital access says Digital Poverty Alliance

Technology giant Apple has seen sales dip by five per cent amidst the cost-of-living crisis, with access to technology facing the squeeze and fears of digital exclusion.

Q4 was Apple’s biggest decline since 2019, with the usual Christmas surge falling five per cent lower than the previous year. Apple boss Tim Cook described the firm as suffering from a “challenging environment” with the economy slowing down.

The Digital Poverty Alliance (DPA), a charity initiative seeking to end digital poverty in the UK, fears that the cost-of-living crisis will have a detrimental impact on digital exclusion across the country, highlighted by a dip in the purchase of consumer electronics.

DPA research has found that over the last 12 months, 14 per cent of people bought a cheaper mobile or delayed an upgrade, 15 per cent switched to a cheaper broadband plan, and 19 per cent switched to a cheaper mobile phone plan, highlighting significant cutbacks among UK consumers.

Elizabeth Anderson, Chief Operating Officer for the Digital Poverty Alliance, said: “The issue of digital poverty and exclusion is being worsened by challenging economic conditions, reducing access to technology and subsequently digital skills which are crucial in our digital world. While the tech sector as a whole has boomed, many people across the country are still without devices, connectivity and other digital capabilities which are essential, and this issue needs to be brought to the top of the national agenda.”

“During the cost-of-living crisis, some people are being made to choose between broadband or food, a laptop or heating. The economic squeeze is a central issue to digital exclusion at the moment, with a great risk of the digital poverty gap expanding.”

“When people forgo tech or broadband, as seen by Q4 retail sales, they fall behind in the online world. The latest technology demands a new set of digital skills to maximise its potential, resulting in a constant cycle of evolution. When people are without access to technology, their digital skills regress, making it more difficult to get back online.”

DPA research also revealed that over the next six months, a quarter (26 per cent) of people are likely to cut back on internet and digital access, while almost half (48 per cent) are expected to reduce spending on digital devices.