Smaller high tech gizmos lighten ladies' handbags

Technological advances have led to a sharp fall in the weight of women's handbags, research from British department store chain Debenhams has revealed.

Women's handbags now weigh an average of 1.5 kg, 57 per cent less than the average of two years ago, Debenhams said in an emailed statement yesterday.



A new generation of smaller, lighter multi-purpose gadgets such as Apple's iPhone and Research in Motion's Blackberry have replaced heavy laptops, old fashioned mobile phones, music players and paper organizers.



Debenhams Handbag Buyer Sue Tebbitts said that two years ago, women were carrying around 3.3 kg, 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," Tebbitts said.



Debenhams said it conducted research on handbags annually and that its study team asked 7,000 women to detail the contents of their bags and how much each thing weighed.



Results over the last 15 years have revealed the gadgets which have had the most impact on women's shoulders.



The mid-1990s saw the popularization of the mobile phone which added an extra 247 grams to Britain's handbags and taking the overall weight to an average of 1.4 kg. The introduction of the Apple iPod increased this further to 1.6 kg in the 2000s.



Weight continued to rise as more and more women began to carry laptop computers in their handbags, peaking at a back-breaking 3.5 kg in 2006 and 2007 when laptop sales were also at their highest.



During this peak, mobile phones, hand-held devices, chargers and MP3 music players joined laptop computers as items commonly found in women's handbags.



Since then the introduction of devices like iPhones and Blackberries has slowly brought the average weight of handbags down to the lowest it's been for seven years, with the trend for 2010 being smaller handbags, Debenhams said.



Despite technological advances, the greatest percentage of weight is still taken up by old handbag favorites such as make-up, mirror, purse, tissues, perfumes, brushes, toothpaste, receipts, address books and headache pills.



"No matter what advances in technology come our way, a woman's handbag will always have that 'Mary Poppins' reputation because women pack a bag ready for anything," Tebbitts said.



Acting editor and fashion director for online fashion and beauty website Handbag.com Belinda White told Reuters in an email that the trend for giant handbags peaked 2007/2008.



She said women have realized that convenient as it was to have a stylish bag that was big enough to literally carry your life in, it wasn't so great for your back.



"I've long believed that the bigger the bag, the more rubbish you carry around and often try to bring more of an evening bag to work and be strict with myself," White said.



"Of course the iPhone helps - no need for an A-Z, camera, diary, phone book - plus even my iPod is a tenth of the size it was 3 years ago."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst - Tunbridge Wells - £30,000

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Junior Test Analyst/Systems Administ...

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - .NET, C#

    £40000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Global Real Estate Software P...

    Recruitment Genius: Drupal / PHP Developer

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity for a talented...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Technical Support Engineer

    £17000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to continuing growth, recru...

    Day In a Page

    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
    Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

    Diana Krall interview

    The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
    Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

    Pinstriped for action

    A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
    Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

    Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

    'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

    Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

    Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
    Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us