Parents spent close to £1 billion on back to school costs last year, making it the UK’s third biggest seasonal shopping event behind Black Friday and Christmas.
Collectively, parents spent £915 million on back to school, with £436m spent on school uniforms and shoes alone, according to calculations from market researchers Mintel.
The next top two spending areas were sportswear, which accounted for £164m, and a category including computing equipment and lunch boxes, equating to £143m of the total in 2017.
The findings suggest that the average parent can expect to pay £273 on uniform, shoes, sportswear, bags and stationery.
Supermarkets are the most likely places for parents to search for back to school items, the research suggests, favoured by a third (33%).
One in seven (14%) parents buy from online-only retailers and 13% make purchases from specialist school retailers, while 9% use department stores.
“Back to school is a major shopping event for the nation’s retailers, beaten only by Black Friday and Christmas,” said Chana Baram, a research analyst at Mintel.
“Spending on back to school is being driven by rising inflation, the increased cost of children’s wear and stationery, and a boost to the back to school population caused by a previous boom in birth rates and the decision to raise the school leaving age to 18 in 2015.
“There has also been a trend among school students to want more fashionable stationery and school accessories, which adds to costs.