More than 10-million South Africans own at least one technology gadget. 
South Africans spending on gadgets has increased dramatically and according to the latest figures from market analytics company, International Data Corporation, overall IT spending in South Africa has increased to a grand total of $12,91-billion (more than R111,6-billion) and the home sector recorded the largest share of total IT expenditure at 20% within South Africa.
This year has also been marked as the year of the gadget by some industry experts, with 42% of South Africans wanting to own smartphones and 37% wanting to own a tablet over the next 12 months. The latest Mobile Shopping Survey also revealed that currently in South Africa more than a third of connected consumers own a tablet device and 78.3% own smartphones.
But the real values of smart devices are often hard to quantify. Most consumers do not track the cost of how many e-books or e-content they download each month.
Without knowing the true value of these smart devices, it is impossible to take the necessary precautions to protect them.
The average price and value of these popular and very attainable smart devices range from R8 000 to R11 000. Many consumers own both a smartphone and a tablet, so in actual fact they are carrying no less than R15 000 worth of tech goods around with them during the day.
“These expensive smart devices are high risk items, particularly because we are not at home with them most of the time and therefore it’s not advisable to simply include these items in the household insurance category,” says Alan Browne, head of Santam Personal Lines.
“In South Africa tablets are being used extensively for both personal and professional reasons; therefore consumers are in most cases hugely dependent on them and cannot afford losing connection or the actual device or the data for a long period of time. The risk of potentially losing a considerable amount of money and the inconvenience going along with it, should something happen to the device, is quite high.
“In this case insurance offerings such as the Santam Personal All Risk insurance offering, which offers cover for all your valuable personal items you normally wear or carry with you outside your home would be ideal,” adds Browne.
Protecting e-content
It’s evident that South Africans are also enjoying the convenience of digital products or services, such as apps, movies, e-books and music.
The average cost of these downloads comprises of one sound track costing R6.99; a movie, costing anything from R120 to R150; and e-books, selling at R134.95.
The cost of this e-content does add up quite a bit, and currently there are no insurance offerings available to cover these digital products, which gives even more reason to backup e-content at all times.
Although losing an expensive device hurts one’s finances, nothing can replace lost data content once it is lost. And in the paperless age we live in, many times extremely important and irreplaceable data is stored on various smart devices.
Consumers are increasingly turning to cloud storage options to have their precious files, photos, music and videos backed up to secure Internet storage. This ensures a safe and accessible storage space which can be accessed from any smartphone, tablet or computer.
Some online retailers and technology manufacturers have cloud drives and Web storage applications where users can enjoy free storage and in some cases have their e-content  automatically backed up on a daily basis.
“Bottom line is, know the true value of these gadgets and protect them against all risks accordingly. Insuring your gadgets should not be seen as an unnecessary extra expense as the stakes are quite high,” concludes Browne.
Tips for looking after tech gadgets
It is the consumer’s responsibility to always backup e-content and data. Set a routine to do so at least once a week. There are cell phone providers that will help users backup data for a small fee. See what options are available.
Important documents, movies and music should be backed up in at least two different places – a hard drive, home computer and cloud storage options would be advisable in this instance.
Remember to always do a routine backup before taking a device in for any sort of inspection and repairs.
Insuring gadgets should not be seen as an unnecessary extra expense. Consider adding the devices to a suitable insurance policy. Make sure a trusted anti-virus program is installed.