What’s Inside a Handbag? Billions in Valuables, Study Shows

What's carried inside a handbag is worth an average of about $516, a U.K. study found.

What's carried inside a handbag is worth an average of about $516, a U.K. study found.

Hampshire, England—While designer “it” bags have been known to cost a small fortune, a new British study released Tuesday found that the average women’s handbag contains £342 (about $516 U.S. dollars) worth of “everyday essentials.”

If true, then in the United Kingdom alone, women are walking around with some £7 billion (about $10.5 billion) worth of contents every day.

A study of handbag contents in British women’s handbags was conducted by My ID, a division Avid Products Ltd, that makes high-tech passport covers. Victoria Barrett of My ID, thinks the average value is actually much more.

“I think £342 is a conservative estimate. Many women also carry photographs in their purses or keepsakes from family which are unlikely to ever be returned if your bag is lost or stolen,” Barrett said.

The study also found that most women carry a total of three credit, debit and store cards, but one in 20 “shopaholics” carry more than 10 charge cards. The average amount of cash carried? £28 or about $42.

What really adds up in value, Barrett said, is all the “stuff” that today’s working women tote around—ranging from more expensive items such as mobile phones, MP3 players, to sunglasses and make up. The value of the handbag itself averaged £51 (about $77) and a wallet £29 (about $43). One in 20 carry sunglasses worth £100 or more (about $150).

Security An Issue

Of course the point of the study was to make women more aware about keeping their handbag contents secure.

“This research shows that it’s paramount to keep your belongings and identity safe,” Barrett says. “But what it doesn’t take in to account is the cost of losing your ID if your passport is cloned, let alone getting new keys cut for your house or car and the inconvenience of having to cancel your credit cards and pay for a new driving license.”

The British study found that 60% of women carry documents in their handbag that contain name and address as well as house and car keys. And 71% reported carrying their passport or driver’s license.

About 18% of women reported their handbag had been either lost or stolen and as a result one in 20 were victims of identity theft.

BREAKDOWN OF COSTS

Handbag                              £51

Wallet                                   £29

Cash                                    £28

Mobile phone                      £105

Make-up/perfume                 £18

MP3 player/iPod                   £47

Sunglasses                          £25

Agenda/organizer              £40

Total                                   £342

 


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