By Daniel Hunter

Nine out of ten British expats (89%) believe they enjoy a better quality of life as a direct result of using personal technology according to the latest NatWest International Personal Banking (NatWest IPB) Quality of Life Report.

Social media is a game-changer for the majority of British expats (78%), who claim the main benefit of personal technology is that it allows them to stay connected with friends and family. Over two thirds (69%) claim that it makes life much easier to organise and manage, whilst 64% say that it provides them with lifelines when they need them.

It is clear that British expats have embraced the digital age with nine in ten (90%) owning three or more personal technology devices. The top three devices are the PC (91%), smartphone (87%) and laptop (83%), whilst tablets (53%) and notebooks (48%) are also popular. Expats in the USA top the charts when it comes to being the most tech savvy with an overwhelming 97% owning three or more devices, compared to the 90% in China, 84% in Spain and 81% in South Africa.

Over half (58%) of those who own three or more personal technology devices are between the ages of 25 — 45, whilst those over the age of 56 account for only 10%.

The global Quality of Life Report carried out in conjunction with Centre for Future Studies, reveals that many British expats are also enjoying the benefits of apps, using them for a variety of activities in their day to day lives. A large proportion (79%) of expats use social media and blogging apps to stay in touch with friends and family saying that they improve their quality of life. Four out of five (80%) expats belong to at least two social networks with Facebook proving to be the most popular at 79% followed closely by Twitter (74%) and Google Plus (65%).

“It’s evident from our Quality of Life Report that social networking sites and apps have revolutionised the way in which British expats keep in touch with friends and family, as well as how they interact with their new social circle," Dave Isley, Head of NatWest International Personal Banking, commented.

"The world of social media doesn’t follow the same rules as other forms of personal technology — there are no time zones to respect, there are no limits on how much multimedia can be uploaded, or how many people can be spoken to at once. And now that expats can access these social sites on-the-go through their smart devices, the opportunities to stay in touch with family, friends and interact with their local community are virtually limitless.”

However, whilst many use apps predominantly for socialising, others are using them for more practical purposes such as currency conversions (75%), shopping (56%) or navigation (44%). It is also evident that many appreciate being able to manage their finances through apps with almost four in ten (38%) British expats using banking apps to do this.

Interestingly, it seems the stigma around submitting one’s bank account details in cyber space has still not surpassed older generations, as individuals over the age of 50 account for only 6% of all mobile banking users despite representing a quarter (24%) of all mobile phone users.

Whilst social networks have proven to be a great way for expats to stay in the loop with those back home, eight out of ten (81%) rely on watching their favourite British TV shows in order to keep them up to date. Over one in ten (14%) say that they enjoy British TV a lot of the time, whilst an additional two thirds (67%) say they do this some of the time. The most popular include news, sport, comedy, soaps, dramas and children’s programmes.

“It’s great that advances in technology have meant that so many British expats can enjoy British TV and bring this little piece of home along with them," Dave Isley commented.

"Essentially, personal technology means that the majority of British expats are now enjoying a better quality of life than previous generations who couldn’t benefit from this advantage 20 years ago. It’s exciting to think what it will be like in another 20 years’ time.”

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