With the end of holidays fast approaching, it can be a busy time for families preparing for the return to school.
It can also be an expensive time, with parents across the region bracing themselves for a spending splurge on uniforms and shoes, stationary, laptops and other items.
While a large number of parents often provide some school supplies and equipment as Christmas presents, one third will conduct their back to school shops over the coming fortnight.
Smiggle Manager, Jasmine Simpson, said that while they experienced strong sales leading up to Christmas, the last two weeks were even busier.
""We have been busy since the start of December but now we are just flat out," she said.
"People are realising that school returns in a couple of weeks and are rushing to have everything ready to back.
"Parents spend on average $45 to $50 in store on bags, lunchboxes and Back to School sets but there is still a lot more that students need."
To know what kind of costs parents may face, BIG W have launched their annual 'Back to School' report which provides families an insight into back to school shopping behaviours and spending habits.
Key findings from the report include:
- A total spend per child of $970, an increas of 12 per cent from last year
- An average of $592 will be spent on school supplies such as uniforms, stationery, bags and lunchboxes, up from $538
- 73 per cent of parents said value for money was the most important factor when shopping
- Quality of products was a major concern for 53% pf parents
This years report also highlighted the increasing costs of technology and sports within schools with parents expecting to spend on average:
- $284 per child on tech items, an increase of 17 per cent
- $94 per child on sports gear, an increase of 12 per cent
Head of Everyday and Home at BIG W, Mitch Armitt, said following what was a difficult 2020, many families were feeling pressure to manage their budgets.
"Whilst Australian parents are expecting to spend more this year on getting their kids back to school, we know that household budgets still remain tight, which is why we've been working hard to bring families great value with quality items from just $1," he said.
"At BIG W, it's possible to get all your school essentials for less than $200 including stationery, lunchbox, water bottle, school bag and uniforms".
In 2020, one in three families had to buy more technology products such as laptops and tablets, while 20 per cent had to purchase furniture including chairs and desks.
Kurt Boundy, Telco Sales Coordinator for JB HiFi in Bathurst, said that the technology requirements might be even higher in 2021 following a strong push towards online learning and the possibility of studying from home again should further COVID restrictions occur.
"A lot of people leave it late to purchase back to school items but they should be looking now because a lot of items will sell out over the coming weeks," he said.
"When coronavirus hit last year we saw a huge increase in sales of computers and home office equipment and we are seeing that again now.
"With some supply issues on a few brands due to COVID, families really need to do their research and purchase before they possibly miss out.
"A lot of schools provide a "must have" list, particularly when it comes to tech and IT requirements, so bring that in with you and staff can help find the best technology solutions to suit your needs."
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