The Secrets of the Shopping Bag

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We all know that shopping habits change over the years, but have you ever stopped to think about what your shopping bag says about you? Indeed, it is quite interesting to look at what women bought 20 years ago compared with today. And the results might surprise you!

The 1980s

Power dressing was all the rage: shoulder pads and big hair were obligatory. Furthermore, women were not the ones in control. They did not have financial products in their own name nor did they own their own car. With fewer than 30 percent of women in full-time work and those who did have a job earning 35 percent less than men on average, money did not always stretch to trips.


Wine from Europe – preferably sweet – was a popular choice; and so were spirits.

Teddy bear / romper suit

Women spend money on their children; but clothes were likely to be from the high street and toys would be of the cuddly type rather than the hi-tech variety.

European Holiday brochure

Only one in five women owned up to taking a holiday at least once a year. And those who did manage a getaway were likely to travel no further than Europe.

Milk, potatoes, chicken, carrots

Women generally ate meals they had prepared at home. And if they chose to eat out, it would normally mean a trip to the local pub, rather than a restaurant.

Chocolate bar

Chocolate was as much of a treat 20 years ago as it is today, but the difference is that women could not splash out on luxury brands. As such, the chocolate fix would come from a cheaper mass-market bar.

However, this list has somewhat changed in recent times! As many women now tend to have more disposable income available, this has led to purchasing of more luxurious items.

Child's designer jacket

Women are having children later in life and there's more money to spend on toys and clothes. Now it is not too uncommon for designer ranges to be purchased.

Luxury chocolate bar

The fact that it's chocolate does not seem to be enough anymore. Women now spend more on luxury brands and treat themselves more often.

Asian holiday brochure

Holiday spending has taken off; it's four times higher than 20 years ago. Europe is still popular, but long-haul destinations are more affordable. It's no longer a case of which to choose, but where to go first!

Luxury meals

A ready meal is now a regular purchase. In addition, women are more likely to eat out; a restaurant meal is on the menu once a week on average.


No longer the bricks of 20 years ago, mobile phones are smaller, smarter and a real must-have. Some gadgets are still seen as 'boy's toys', however, when it comes to cars, women are catching up.

Fashion and beauty

Treats such as earrings, make-up or perfume are not just for special occasions anymore. If those do not do the trick; it's off to the spa for a day's pampering.

'New world' wine

Dry 'new world' wines have taken over from sweeter European ones. But women have also developed a taste for alcopops and beer.

So what does it really mean? Today's shopping basket shows women are becoming more independent: more are in full-time work and their wages are catching up with what men receive. In fact, almost a quarter of women earn more than their partners. Furthermore, many will no longer hold back in using their credit card to make a desired purchase. And considering the cost of many basics has fallen in the last 20 years, there's more money to spend on luxuries.

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