The growing popularity of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) model in Australian schools is predicted to bring higher back-to-school costs for Australian families.
A survey commissioned by Commonwealth Bank of Australia said parents of primary and secondary school students are expected to spend 43 percent more on school supplies in 2018, largely driven by a growing demand for technology.
Australian families will spend a total of $829 on new textbooks, stationery, school shoes, uniforms and laptops, up from $472 in 2017.
The research, which surveyed more than 1000 parents, said that 50 percent of parents will spend more on technology items such as laptops and tablets compared to last year, with per-family tech costs expected to be $269.
Technology spending will be the highest compared to other school supplies, with $182 spent on uniforms, $127 on textbooks, $103 on school shoes and $91 on stationery.
The trend also extends to younger families as well, with 33 percent of parents with children aged between 5 and 7 indicating that they have also increased their spending for technology this year.
Some of the parents surveyed are also looking to take the sting out of back-to-school costs, with 29 percent paying in instalments, 42 percent buying second-hand, 60 percent using hand-me-downs, with 80 percent of the respondents relying on sales.
In a report from The Australian Financial Review, Harvey Norman technology and entertainment general manager Frank Robinson said January had become the company's busiest month due to back-to-school spending. June was previously Harvey Norman’s busiest month for personal computer and Mac sales, followed by December, then January.
Melbourne-based Solution One, a reseller working closely with the education sector, told CRN that BYOD season starts as early as August and runs through until February.
"The lead-up to Christmas and the lead-up to the start of the school year tend to be busy, with the former being 30 percent larger," Solution One managing director Matthew Gordon said.
"However, our busiest month is September, when we visit schools individually and assist with parent information sessions on what to buy and the value around enterprise machines versus retail."
He added that parents want to know that they are buying the most appropriate device for education and are "not 100 percent driven by price".
"Children will always look to the bright and shiny retail models with all the bells and whistles," Gordon said.
"Parents on the other hand are more astute and look for suitability, durability and longevity from their purchase."