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26 Sept 2022

‘Strain on parents’ wallets’ as average back-to-school costs rise

‘Strain on parents’ wallets’ as average back-to-school costs rise

Average prices for some key back-to-school items, such as highlighter sets, backpacks and lunch bags, have jumped in the past year, according to analysis.

Typical prices for everyday school items on price comparison website PriceRunner were compared in August with prices a year earlier, in August 2021.

Buy now pay later firm Klarna, which acquired PriceRunner earlier this year, also compared shopping volumes in August 2022 with August 2021.

It found that backpack sales were down by 15% this August compared with August 2021, suggesting that some parents may have been cutting back on some items or perhaps buying items earlier in anticipation of rising prices.

The typical cost of some back-to-school items has decreased compared with a year earlier, the research found, with price drops recorded for books and notepads.

Alex Marsh, head of Klarna UK, said: “It’s clear from our data that parents are looking to economise where they can as they prepare for the return to school.

“Many have decided to beat price rises by making last year’s backpack last another year whilst others are cashing in on cheaper books and notepads.”

Christine Gouldthorp, a consumer expert at PriceRunner, said: “Many school products have become a lot more expensive recently, adding financial strain to parents’ wallets.”

But she added that some products are cheaper than a year ago.

She said that checking the price history of a particular product would help parents to know whether it is a cheaper or more expensive time to buy it.

Here are the average prices in particular price categories in August 2022, according to data from PriceRunner’s website, followed by the annual price increase or decrease: 

– Binders, £12, 33%

– Sticky notes, £13, 86%

– Highlighter sets, £11, 21%

– Backpacks, £55, 14%

– Reusable water bottles, £15, 13%

– Laptops, £907, 12%

– Alarm clocks, £32, 11%

– Laptop holders, £44, 11%

– Keyboards, £64, 7%

– Lunch boxes, £12, 3%

– Lunch bags, £12, 3%

– Laptop cases, £33, minus 2%

– Books, £6, minus 11%

– Notebooks, £14, minus 29%

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