New research has shown the dramatic change in tech habits over 20 years, with people turning their backs on land lines, fax machines and digital cameras, whilst looking to a future of driverless cars and no computers or offices.

In a study of 1000 people, less than a quarter said they regularly used email in the 2000s, compared to 96% who now use it every day. Nearly four out of 10 didn’t own a mobile or had to share with co-workers 20 years ago, whereas 41% now say it is the one tech item they could not live without, followed by high-speed wireless internet (26%).

The research was carried out by technology services business Lifeline IT – www.lifelineit.net – to mark its 20th anniversary. IT and tech that were a regular feature of life in the 2000s but are rarely used now include land line telephones (65%), fax machines (48%), modems (48%), teletext information service Ceefax (47%) and digital cameras (36%).

The research also questioned people on what they think will be obsolete by the next decade. Desktop computers (38%), satellite-based TV (28%) and sat-nav (52%) were all items that are predicted to be on the demise, with a surprising 14% thinking offices that people work in will no longer be around in 2032. More than one in 10 also predicted that cars driven by humans would be a thing of the past in 5-10 years’ time.

Commenting on the results, Lifeline IT founder and director Daniel Mitchell said: “This research shows the huge advances that have been made in IT and tech in the past two decades. When Lifeline IT started as a business in 2002, many of our clients relied on faxes and plug in modems, and it wasn’t unusual for email to only be available on one or two office computers. Yet today our phones are like mini-offices – over the next decade, it’s quite possible that people will slowly migrate away from computers and just use their smartphone connected to a screen.

People are also surprised by the speed of technological change over the decades, with 59% never imagining that ‘wearable tech’, such as Apple watches, would have become as common as they have done in society. The research highlighted environmental concerns – 80% feel technology is now too disposable, as consumers are constantly replacing their smartphones, tablets and smartwatches for the latest model.

As part of the research, Lifeline IT has created a series of ‘Terminated Tech’ podcasts, looking at items that were big in 2002 but are no longer in use. Covering everything from old school mobiles, Tamagotchis and Palm Pilots, the series explores why they were popular, what caused their demise and what these vintage tech pieces are now worth. The podcasts are available on all the usual platforms. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Player FM

Lifeline IT’s Daniel said: “Our ‘Terminated Tech’ podcast series is a real retro look back into the world of tech. Since we founded Lifeline IT in 2002, we’ve seen so many pieces of tech come and go we thought it would be fun to have a recap on what was big at the time. We forget that things like Blackberry devices were everywhere back in the 2000s but the only place you’re likely to find them now is on eBay or vintage selling websites!


About the research

The research was carried out independently by a consumer research agency, which surveyed 1000 people across the UK in Summer 2022. 

About Lifeline IT

Lifeline IT is a technology services business whose range of services cover everyday IT support, tech consultancy, cyber security and disaster recovery, through to cloud hosting and systems design. www.lifelineit.net