Staying connected is more important than keeping the lights on for a majority of Americans. According to research by tech support firm iYogi, 63 percent of Americans spend 35 percent more on technology bills than they do on utility bills.

"Technology is now the real utility as increasingly households spend more on a combination of technology bills to stay connected than their utility bills," said Vishal Dhar, president of marketing and co-founder of iYogi. "The results of the survey also cite that technology continues to be the key enabler for empowering people in today's fast-paced interconnected world, driven by demand for newer and smarter devices that connect to the Internet and to each other."

The driving force behind this spending comes from mobile services for cellphones, for which people pay an average of $94 a month. Music, movie and game downloads were also estimated at $19 a month among respondents. Additionally, 58 percent of respondents reported spending between $20 and $60 on Internet service provider (ISP) bills per month. Overall, households spent anywhere between $20 and $180 on ISP bills a month.

As more new technologies and devices continue to be released, Dhar said that the number of gadgets that people own will only grow in coming years. According to the survey, the average two-person household had an average of seven devices, while the number of devices in households of three to seven people grew to 11. This growth, Dhar said, will be driven by increased popularity of tablets in particular.

Although adoption of cloud service and online backup applications stood at 30 percent and reached an estimated $10 per month in the research, Dhar believes that considering the relative novelty of those services, those numbers represent a solid foundation for future growth.

"We anticipated the adoption of cloud services and online backup would be lower at this point," Dhar told BusinessNewsDaily. "That just shows the propensity of people to pay for new services as they come out. As a general trend, I believe that the amount people spend on downloads and cloud services will only grow. "

The iYogi survey was based on the responses of 1,100 iYogi customers and was based on projections of what people spent on access to technology services factoring in Internet service provider (ISP) bills, mobile subscription bills and entertainment bills. Costs to purchase the products were not a factor in the research.

"The findings are a validation of how technology is becoming more and more critical to the point that it is a must-have thing that is always on and always connected," Dhar said.

Reach BusinessNewsDaily staff writer David Mielach at Follow him on Twitter @D_M89.

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