Officeworks crowned cheapest retailer for back-to-school supplies

Photo: Officeworks wins the back-to-school battle
Photo: Officeworks wins the back-to-school battle Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

It's that time of the year again - as parents prepare to send kids back to school. 

Back to school supplies can quickly add up. Consumer advocacy group CHOICE says that parents spend about $590 to get each child ready for the start of the year. 

So who is the winner in the back-to-school shopping battle? CHOICE has saved us the hard work of comparing costs at three major retailers - Officeworks, Kmart and Big W. 

This year's cheapest shop was, once again, found at Officeworks. Its basket cost $21.37, which is $4.03 cheaper than the most expensive basket.

What's in the basket?

CHOICE created a standard list of school essentials that would suit most students:

  • 5-pack HB pencils
  • 12-pack coloured pencils
  • 2 pencil sharpeners (with receptacle to hold shavings)
  • 10-pack ballpoint pens
  • 10-pack colouring pens
  • Pencil case – the kind where you cut out letters to slip into the slots
  • 4-pack highlighter pens
  • Eraser (large)
  • 2-pack glue sticks
  • A4 exercise book (64 pages)
  • Roll of adhesive book covering (2m)
  • A4 spiral-bound notebook (120 pages)
  • 2-ring binder (25mm)
  • Water bottle (BPA free, 550mL or closest)
  • Scissors
  • Ruler (30cm)
  • Correction tape.

They didn't include a backpack or lunch box in the list because there was too much variation in quality to make a fair comparison.

The spot checks were conducted on the same day in mid-January for consistency, with last year's most expensive contender - Target - excluded this year as it lacked an adequate range to survey.  That's also why they didn't included any supermarkets in the comparison.

Officeworks also has a user-friendly list builder on their website - so you can create and upload your own list!


Here are just a few of the best and cheapest products: 

Studymate 12 pack coloured pencils - $1.89. Buy now

Studymate Name Pencil Case Teal - $0.49. Buy now

Keji Drink Bottle 550mL Coral Pink - $0.74. Buy now

Photo: Back-to-school supplies from Officeworks

Photo: Back-to-school supplies from Officeworks

Officeworks Managing Director Sarah Hunter said Officeworks is a Back to School shopping destination where parents can find a wide range of school supplies (such as stationery, technology and student furniture) at low prices either online or in store, supported by convenient services that save time and money.

"This year we've seen that parents are saving on average 25 per cent on their school list prices when shopping with us. Given the challenges that many Australians faced in 2020, we are committed to helping parents feel empowered and in control of their Back to School expenses," Ms Hunter said.

Ordering online? 

If you're shopping online this year, Officeworks offers free pick-up, with delivery fees starting at $5.95 or free if you spend more than $55.​

Take a look at the full range of Officeworks back to school supplies now -