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Media Resources


Release Date: 09/12/2012

ShopSmart Shares Secrets to Smart Handbag Shopping

New poll finds half of American women have a hard time shopping for bags

SS October 2012 CoverYONKERS, NY — Finding the perfect purse can be tricky.  According to a new national poll from ShopSmart, roughly half of women said they had a hard time shopping for a handbag. But that doesn’t stop them from stocking up—women said they owned 10 bags on average, and one in 10 fessed up to having more than 20.

On “splurge” bags, women spend an average of $148. And names matter?about a quarter of respondents said they bought a bag because it was a certain brand.

“Falling in love with a bag doesn’t always end well.  If you love it, but you don’t love using it—you can end up carrying around that mistake for months,” said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart. “We have some tips that can help you avoid some common bag blunders.”

The October 2012 issue of ShopSmart, from Consumer Reports, shares secrets to smart handbag shopping including where to snag the best deals, must-have features, tips for keeping bags looking new and four things to never put in a handbag.

Where to Shop for Handbags

Zappos, eBags, 6PM, Piperlime, and Overstock are great for selection, deals, shipping and returns. Popular retailers like Macy’s, Coach, Banana Republic and Cole Haan have great go-to-sites for classic styles at occasionally impossible-to-resist sale prices. Here are some other great sites for snagging bag deals:

  • is best for bargains. Shoppers will find more than 500 bags priced at $10 to $85 here.  Shipping is free on orders of $50 and up.

  • is a great site for tracking sales. This fashion search engine does a sweep of the Web’s biggest retailers, making it easy to find the bag of your dreams at the right price. ShopSmart found a $69 Limited shoulder bag marked down to $16 and a $1,485 Jil Sander bag reduced to $297.

  • offers a huge selection of discounted high-end bags.  Act fast on this site because the inventory changes fast.  Hit the sale section for the deepest discounts (up to 70 percent off) on names like Marni and Marc Jacobs. ShopSmart spotted Diesel fabric and leather bags marked down to less than $100 and a $450 Moschino for $270.

Four Things to Never Put in a Handbag

To preserve the condition of your handbag, ShopSmart has identified four things to avoid putting in your bag as they can cause some serious damage.

  1. Sharp objects. Nail files, scissors, or uncapped pens can tear a lining.

  2. Loose makeup and liquids, including hand sanitizer. Keep them in a separate plastic bag to prevent leaks.

  3. Anything smelly (gym clothes, a sandwich). Odors can linger.

  4. Spare flats. They should always be kept in a shoe bag to protect the rest of the contents from their dirty soles.

About Consumer Reports:
Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website, and other publications. Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.

About ShopSmart magazine:
Launched in Fall 2006 by Consumer Reports, ShopSmart draws upon the publication’s celebrated tradition of accepting no advertisements and providing unbiased product reviews. ShopSmart features product reviews, shopping tips on how to get the most out of products and “best of the best” lists. It’s ideal for busy shoppers who place a premium on time. ShopSmart has a newsstand price of $4.99 and is available nationwide at major retailers including Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, Borders, Kroger, Safeway and Publix. ShopSmart is available by subscription at

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