BREAD makers, coffee machines and electric knives. They sound like a nice idea but according to a new poll, British adults waste a staggering £9.4bn on household gadgets which they never use.
The research carried out by esure.com found 23.4m adults in the UK buy gadgets which they never put to use. And £4.1bn admit they buy gifts for friends and family, which they know won't make it out of their wrapping.
Top of the list of items bought but soon forgotten is the trusty sandwich toaster. This handy little kitchen appliance was bought but never used by a whopping 21.5m people, which is nearly half of the UK's adult population and represents a wasted £315m.
But the toasters were closely followed by bathroom scales, bought but not used by nearly a third of households and coffee machines bought by 30% of adults but rarely, if ever, taken out of their boxes.
Also high up on the list of white elephants was the foot spa, which 22% of people admitted to wasting money on and electric knives which 21% admitted to having languishing in a drawer.
One in five people said they had spent more than £500 on useless gadgets, although men were more likely to be guilty than women.
Dr Mike Reddy, senior lecturer in future technology and robotics at the University of Glamorgan, said people invested in gadgets because they honestly believed they'd use them.
He said, "I think people really do believe at the time that they are going to use them. But you usually get two types of people. There are the ones that buy a gadget because they want to make a change to their lives, for example a bread maker. They like the idea of home made bread and they're incredibly convenient. You just put all the stuff in and take out the bread four hours later. They want the thing the gadget is offering and they genuinely believe they are going to change and this particular thing will help them do it.
"And then you get the other type of person who buys something because they thinks it's the kind of thing someone like them should have."
Nikki Sellers, head of home insurance at esure.com,which carried out the poll, said, "Many of us are suckers for advertising and fanatical about keeping up with the latest fads and must-have gadgets. But as a nation we're guilty of boxing up and stockpiling our white elephant household gadgets in lofts, garages, wardrobes and drawers, leaving them out of sight and easily forgotten."
High on esure.com's list for next year's predicted white elephants are ice cream makers and juicers.
Page 2 - Any of these in the back of your cupboard?