Popular gadgets such as iPhones and PlayStations may have taken up a hefty chunk of the £8.7billion worth of Black Friday sales in the UK, but they will also be top targets for casual thieves over the festive season.
Consumers appear to be wise to this, if a study by One Sure into recent Google searches related to gadget insurance is anything to go by – but the same figures suggest that some brands are prized more highly than others.
For instance, “iPhone insurance” topped One Sure’s list of searches for November, at 40,000, but the Google Pixel handset drew a measelly 1,500. And more generic searches like “laptop” and “camera” – that returned 12,000 apiece over the same period – show that consumer concern over device theft or damage is not necessarily always brand-specific.
Other gadgets and brands returned in insurance searches using Google included "Xbox" (3,100), "drone" (4,200), "tablet" (4,400), "AirPod" (1,700), and "PlayStation" (2,900).
"As the Christmas season approaches, more of us will buy phones, laptops, and electronics as gifts for our relatives and friends,” said One Sure spokesman Chris Lear.
But he cautioned: "Gadgets are often forgotten when people think about insurance policies. In today's economic climate, gadget theft is on the rise and insurance on electronics is quickly becoming a necessity as people struggle to replace stolen items."
Lear added that nearly seven in 10 gadget thefts occurred away from home, with 38% of phone thefts occurring on public transport.
"Everyone is more vulnerable to theft during the festive season as they travel to and from pubs and parties,” said Lear, while warning that steering clear of mass transit was no guarantee of preventing your shiny new smartphone from being pinched.
"Even avoiding public transport won't guarantee your smartphone will be safe, as 30% of gadget thefts happen in pubs and clubs,” he said, citing other research that claims only 7% of stolen smartphones are recovered every year.
He also warned parents not to let their enthusiasm for the festive spirit make them forgetful of common-sense measures to prevent theft.
"An estimated two-thirds of parents hide Christmas presents outside their homes,” he said. “It can be tempting to store gifts in popular hideaways like the garden shed or car boot to outsmart the kids. While these hiding spots are perfect for keeping the kids away, it means your gifts could be easier to steal."
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