Press Centre

Life's a burden for women :Official

The average weight of the contents of a woman’s handbag has soared over the past five years, new research has revealed.

It now weighs 2.37 kilos – a whopping 38 per cent increase – as women struggle to cope with demands at work and home .

So great is the trend that supermarket Asda has now asked manufacturers to plan ahead by increasing the tensile strength of weight-bearing straps and stitching across its entire handbag range.

It believes that handbag contents weight will continue to increase, breaching the three kilos mark within the next ten years.

Said Asda brand director Fiona Lambert: “ Women have often complained that modern life is becoming a burden – and now we know they are right.

“They’re carry the equivalent of five bags of sugar with them, everywhere they go.

“The contents of a woman’s handbag is a good indicator for their entire lifestyle. Increasing weight must mean increasing responsibilities.”

The trend emerged during Asda’s research into lifestyles conducted regularly for its George range of clothing and accessories.

The biggest handbag weight gain has been created by the increasing role played by women at all levels in today’s corporate world

High-tech work gadgets, such as mobile phones, PDAs, device chargers, laptop computers and their cables, are now regular features for the first time in most women’s bags.

Other work-related items includes bulky document files, security swipe cards, and a pair of smart shoes, with women walking to work in trainers before changing to a more business-friendly, fashionable style.

However, despite changing lifestyle, the greatest percentage of weight is still taken up by old handbag favourites such as make up, mirror, purse, tissues, perfumes, sanitary products, brushes, tooth past receipts, address book and headache pills.

Books, magazines, brushes, perfume, keys, tube map, deodorants, contraceptive pills and lip salve still feature prominently.

Said Asda’s Fiona Lambert: “ We’re amazed by how quickly the weight of women’s handbag has grown in Britain – especially since 2.37 kilos represents only the average figure.

“This means that, at the extremes, there must be some women carrying handbags which are so heavy that they would put Sherpa Tenzing to shame.

“The stress endured by the material and straps of a heavily laden bag as it swings freely from the shoulder is considerable. It can be the equivalent of a hod carrier on a building site.

“We currently design each bag to able to easily withstand at least 20 lbs weight, but we’re beginning to wonder if even this will be enough to meet future demands ?”

Increasing weight now means that most bags are now carried over the shoulder than in the hand, with larger bags becoming more popular.

And women now have at least two categories of bag – large, robust versions for work, and much smaller, lighter bags for leisure and play.

Five years ago, the contents of the average handbag weighed just 1.72 kilos. The study was conducted by weighing the contents of handbags carried by 50 women stopped at random.

Posted in Press Centre on 13 December 2007