Press Releases



Bag Bounce

The latest catwalk trend of exclusive petite pouches replacing the tank-size-totes of previous years has hit the high street.

Debenhams has seen the most popular size of the average handbag sold shrink by almost 200%, according to a recent sales analysis with styles such as H! Henry Holland iridescent ‘milk carton’ bag and Bailey and Quinn’s mini tote bag leading new trend.

Two years ago the average handbag size was 12” wide x 8.5”high x 5”depth, which due to the tapering shape of most larger bags, plus lining fabric and compartments, would create an average of 350 cubic inches of internal space.

Now the average size of bags purchased this year, has dropped to 8”wide x 5”high x 3” depth, with approximately120 cubic inches of space inside - almost three times smaller than the previous most popular bag size.

With famous faces such as Kendall Jenna, Rosie Huntingdon Whiteley, Taylor Swift, Fearne Cotton and even the Duchess of Cambridge downsizing their arm-candy, it is no surprise that in a separate survey for the retailer one in three female customers (32%) said they either had, or were intending to, buy a smaller handbag within the next four months.

Recent designer brands to launch mini and even micro bags include Moschino, with one of the smallest at 2.4” x 3.5”, Valentino, Mulberry, and Dolce and Gabbana with one of the largest at 5” x 6.7”.  Mini pouches made an appearance on the Spring/Summer 15 catwalks last year and have continued to have a presence in Autumn/Winter 15 shows in Paris, New York, Milan and London.

For most women a slightly larger bag is needed for everyday accessories, but many are jumping on the downsizer bandwagon and using it as an excuse for a personal-possession detox, according to the Debenhams study.

The most popular item which women said they would dump to make room for essentials in a smaller bag was, old receipts, closely followed by “old/used-up” make-up, with extra pairs of tights, umbrella, knickers and even spare shoes, getting a mention.

Head of Accessories Natelle Baddeley said: “For years women have filled holdall size handbags with everything from make-up and hair straighteners to laptops, ipads and even a change of clothes on occasion.

“So it’s not surprising that this latest fashion for a lighter load on our arms has taken off. The designs are gorgeous, but the size means women have no choice but to be ruthless about the items they carry around with them. 
   “There is something very appealing about stripping back possessions to the bare essentials and realising that all those “just in case items” were weighing us down physically and maybe mentally too.”

Top Ten items to be dumped in a handbag downsize:

1. Shop receipts/bits of waste paper (including sweet wrappers and old tissues)
2. Old/ used up make up (most popular choice finished lipsticks followed by mascara)
3. Umbrella
4. Spare tights
5. Hand-cream
6. Full size hair brush
7. Broken/extra pens
8. Spare knickers
9. Large make-up bag
10. Comfy/flat shoes

And the top five items (well ten wouldn’t fit!) women said were essential for a scaled-down, bijou bag:

1. Phone
2. Keys
3. Purse
4. Mini-makeup kit (top picks were lipstick/gloss, eyeliner, mascara, concealer)
5. Miniature size handbag perfume

Some of the strangest items women said they had carried in a handbag included a mousetrap, a blender and a live rabbit.


About Us
Debenhams is a leading international, multi-channel brand with a proud British heritage which trades out of over 240 stores across 27 countries. Debenhams gives its customers around the world a unique, differentiated and exclusive mix of own brands, international brands and concessions.

Debenhams has been investing in design for over 20 years through its exclusive Designers at Debenhams portfolio of brands. Current designers include Abigail Ahern, Jeff Banks, Jasper Conran, Sadie Frost and Jemima French, Patrick Grant, Henry Holland, Betty Jackson, Stephen Jones, Ben de Lisi, Todd Lynn, Julien Macdonald, Jenny Packham, Ren Pearce and Andrew Fionda, Aliza Reger, John Rocha, Ashley Thomas, Justin Thornton, Thea Bregazzi, Eric Van Peterson and Matthew Williamson. 


For more information and images please contact Sophie Reynolds:

0203 549 6419 or 07817 900836 /

Debenhams Press Office
T 0203 549 6420 /

Digital Assets

top arrow