The average weight of the contents of a handbag has fallen by more than half, research revealed today.

The majority of women's handbags now weigh around 3.3lb, 57 per cent less than the average of two years ago.

A new generation of smaller, lighter multi-purpose gadgets such as the iPhone and BlackBerry have replaced heavy laptops, old-fashioned mobile phones and Filofaxes, research from Debenhams claimed.

Sue Tebbitts, handbag buyer at Debenhams, said: "Two years ago, women were carrying around 7.3lb, the equivalent of three and a half bags of sugar, everywhere they went.

"Finally the burden placed upon working women is falling and it's all thanks to technology."

But the greatest percentage of weight is still taken up by perennial favourites such as make-up, mirror, purse, tissues, perfumes, sanitary products, brushes, toothpaste, receipts, address books and headache pills