Personal Finance

Back to School Spending Statistics 2020

Our latest survey reveals how much British households spend on back-to-school clothes and other supplies. Find out how worried parents are about paying for back-to-school supplies and learn which clothing item is most likely to be lost during the school year.

Our back-to-school survey reveals all you want to know about how much parents really spend getting their kids ready for the new school year, how they pay for it—and how stressed out they are about these annual expenses. This survey was commissioned in partnership with Korbond, who supply haberdashery supplies like tagit products including labelling, marking and hemming products to help back to school supplies from getting lost.

In this study

How worried are parents about paying for back-to-school supplies?

On average, 68% of parents in the UK worry about paying for back-to-school clothes and other items. Not surprisingly, those earning lower incomes are more concerned with how to pay for prepping their children for the new school year. Of those earning less than £20,000 a year, a whopping 77% of parents are anxious about back-to-school expenses. However even those earning higher incomes are not immune—54% of households earning over £60,000 a year reported feeling worried about paying for back-to-school supplies as well.

How Much do Parents Worry About Back-to-School Costs?
by household incomeWorriedNot Worried
Less than £20,00077%23%
£21,000 to £30,00071%29%
£31,000 to £40,00067%33%
£41,000 to £50,00068%32%
£51,000 to £60,00071%29%
Above £60,00054%46%
chart showing how worried parents are about paying for back to school

Cost of Back-to-School Supplies

Consistent with our research on the average cost of a school uniform, UK parents spend around £191 on back-to-school shopping per child. Items like blazers, bags, coats and shoes cost the most, with parents regularly paying more than £20 for these items.

How Much do Parents Spend on Back to School?Most common price paid per child
School shoes£20 and over
PE Kits including trainers£20 and over
Blazer£20 and over
Coat£20 and over
Shirts£7.50 to £9.99
Jumper£7.50 to £9.99
Polo Shirt£7.50 to £9.99
Skirt£20 and over
Pinafore£7.50 to £9.99
Dress£20 and over
Trousers£7.50 to £9.99
School Bag£20 and over
Accessories i.e. Lunchbox, water bottle£20 and over
Other school related items£20 and over
chart showing how worried parents are about paying for back to school

Which school supplies need to be replaced most often?

Some items are more likely to need replacement during the year—whether due to loss, your child outgrowing the item or wear and tear. According to our survey, accessories like water bottles and lunch boxes are the most likely to be lost, requiring parents to buy 1.3 replacements during the school year. PE kits including trainers and jumpers came a close second, with parents needing to buy an additional 1.2 items per child each school year.

Even shoes need to be replaced once a year on average, which can really put a dent in household budgets as shoes are one of the more expensive back-to-school items.

Average number of school item replacements bought each year
Accessories i.e. Lunchbox, water bottle1.3
PE Kits including trainers1.2
Polo Shirt1.1
Other school related items1.0
School shoes1.0
School Bag0.7
chart showing how often back-to-school replacements are purchased

How do parents pay for back-to-school supplies?

Most parents save money ahead throughout the year to pay for school-related supplies. In fact, 33.2% save for back-to-school shopping ahead of the new school year and another 27.3% continue to save throughout the year for any expenses that come up—for instance to replace a lost jumper.

14.1% of households report having enough funds at the ready to pay for school uniform and other supplies. 3.4% rely on other sources like help from grandparents and 2% need to borrow money. Those who don't have enough funds saved and need to borrow through a credit card end up spending even more on school supplies as they end up paying interest charges for their borrowing.

How do Parents Pay for Back-to-School Supplies?
I keep savings for the start of the new school term33.2%
I keep savings for purchases throughout the year27.3%
I shop special offers and deals to keep the costs down19.5%
I don't need to budget, I have enough funds14.1%
I rely on other sources (e.g. help from grandparents)3.4%
I borrow (e.g. credit card to spread costs over time)2.0%
chart showing how often back-to-school replacements are purchased


In partnership with Korbond, we conducted a survey of over 200 respondents through SmartSurvey in 2019. Respondents have children between the ages of 4 and 12, and spanned a range of income levels.

chart showing income levels of back2school survey
Erin Yurday

Erin Yurday is the Founder and Editor of NimbleFins. Prior to NimbleFins, she worked as an investment professional and as the finance expert in Stanford University's Graduate School of Business case writing team. Read more on LinkedIn.


NimbleFins Newsletter

Get energy alerts, deals, tips, news, and more!