Smaller high tech gizmos lighten ladies' handbags

Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:36pm EST
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By Paul Casciato

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - 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 (3 lb), 57 percent less than the average of two years ago, Debenhams said in an emailed statement on Thursday.

A new generation of smaller, lighter multi-purpose gadgets such as Apple Inc's iPhone and Research in Motion Ltd'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 (7.3 lbs), 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.   Continued...

<p>A model presents a creation from the Brian Reyes Fall 2009 collection during New York Fashion Week February 19, 2009. REUTERS/Cary Horowitz</p>