Brits switch bulging handbags for digital apps, Nectar data shows


Brits are streamlining their excess baggage in a bid to achieve a lighter lifestyle, with a 50% drop in people taking a bag out with them – and a quarter of the population now trying to carry less wherever they go.

The findings from Nectar, the UK’s biggest loyalty app and website, reveals how well Brits have adapted to the pandemic, by slimming down their handbag clutter to make room for essential items such as hand sanitiser and facemasks. Brits are taking the weight off by leaving physical items at home, such as loyalty cards, pens and notepads – and switching to digital apps as shops increasingly offer contactless payment in the wake of the pandemic. 

With the smartphone being the top item we can’t leave home without, switching to digital versions of the things we need is one way Brits are starting to streamline their bags. Young people are already leading this change to a lighter load, with nearly a third (28%) of Gen Z using methods such as Apple Pay to replace physical bank cards, compared to just 2% of those aged over 65.

The pandemic has no doubt quickened the downward trend, with 21% calling time on the unnecessary stuff they slug around on a daily basis, and just under a quarter (24%) admitting to littering their bags with food wrappers – building up a mountain of debris within.

Brits admit that on average their bag gets a clear out less than once a year, with almost 10% of us not sure if we’ve ever given our bulging bags a clear out. As a result, 12% would be embarrassed to let someone rifle through their handbag, according to the figures.

A quarter even confessed to using their bags as a mobile rubbish bin, housing old chocolate wrappers for days on end. This clutter also causes confusion, with one in 10 people having panicked over a lost valuable, only to then find it in their bag later.

We’re no better when it comes to purses and wallets, with the average wallet containing nine different cards – including bank cards, travel cards and membership cards – despite only using three regularly.

It’s now easier than ever to collect Nectar points thanks to the digital card and app, which enables customers to scan their phone in stores instead of carrying a physical card – and collect loads of bonus points. On average customers get over three times more points with the latest offers on the Nectar app.

James Moir, managing director at Nectar, said: “The past year has seen the nation change many habits as we all adapt to the new normal – and it’s clear that Brits are keen to carry less than ever before. For those who are interested in lightening their load, whilst also making their money go further – switching to the digital Nectar app gives customers the opportunity to take advantage of hundreds of Nectar offers and collect more points with ease, at the click of a button.”