BIG W Research Reveals Rising ‘Back to School’ Costs


Aussie families are expected to spend an average of $538 per child on school supplies and uniforms in 2020, representing a $62 or 13 per cent increase on last year, according to YouGov’s Annual Back to School Research Report*, commissioned by BIG W.

For the second year running, Victorians are expected to spend the most on Back to School shopping at $608, whilst West Australians are estimating a more conservative $506 per child.
Many parents are also being hit with extra technology costs of around $240 per child for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs, where students are required to supply their own iPads or

The study into Back to School spending behaviours also reveals:

  • The financial hangover of Christmas festivities is leaving families feeling anxious, with Millennial parents most likely to experience ‘Back to School stress’ (88 per cent) when compared to Gen X (85 per cent) and Baby Boomers (72 per cent).
  • The two biggest benefits of getting 'Back to School' shopping done early are peace of mind (62%), and having more time to shop around for the best prices and deals (51%).
  • Affordability (54%) and quality of products (43%) are most important to parents when shopping for their children’s ‘Back to School’ items.
  • One in four (25%) parents say being able to purchase school supplies online and having them delivered without having to set foot in a store is important, with a further one in five (22%) say picking up online purchases from a ‘click & collect’ outlet is important to them.

Weighing in on the results, money-saving expert and author of Kill Bills!, Joel Gibson says:

“Back to School is the final stage of the ‘triple-whammy’ summertime expenses, behind Christmas and school holidays, so it’s no wonder families are feeling the pinch at this time of year. There are some simple money saving solutions - and they mostly come back to good planning and being a savvy shopper.”

Joel Gibson’s top savings tips:

  1. Advance planning will save you dollars and stress. “The research shows that early shoppers spend less. Just as you would with any other big-ticket item, do your research, look around and compare brands and prices. You’ll be surprised at the savings that can be made by shopping early.”
  2. Fly solo at the shops. “Pester power is real! Two-thirds of Aussie parents (65 per cent) say they overspend on Back to School supplies by buying non-essential items thanks to their eager shopping companions. So if you’re keen to save that extra cash, play it safe and leave the kids at home.
  3. Get it online. “Purchasing behaviour is changing rapidly with the average proportion of online shopping for Back to School increasing by nearly 10 per cent from 2019. It’s a great strategy for those wanting to stick strictly to the essentials on the list, In-store Pick-up is another great option to save on delivery costs.” 
  4. Next year, try ‘before pay’. “To minimise the impact on your household budget, forget ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ services and try a new service - it’s called ‘before pay’: write ‘before pay’ on a large jar, stick $10 in it every week this year and by next January, you’ll have $520 and Back to School will be a breeze!”

Teresa Rendo, Commercial General Manager at BIG W notes: “We know that parents are both time and price conscious this time of year. With prices starting from just $1, we offer a wide selection of uniforms, shoes, stationery, bags and accessories in the one convenient Back to School destination. In fact, it’s possible to get all the necessary Back to School gear for under $200 at BIG W.”

The Back to School shopping period has officially commenced at BIG W; shop in-store, online, use same-day Pick up service or opt for Afterpay and Zip Pay. This year, BIG W is also offering a 10% Price Beat Guarantee; find a lower advertised price on an identical stocked item, and they’ll beat it by 10% (terms and conditions apply).

Visit for more information and earn Rewards points with every BIG W purchase.

*’The BIG W Back to School report was conducted by YouGov Galaxy on behalf of BIG W in November-December 2019. Report surveyed 1,053 adults with children aged 5 – 17 across Australia. Full report available upon request.

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