The return of children to school seems to be foregone. Schools are preparing themselves as much as they can to make sure that learning will being in the safest possible environment – for children and teachers alike. In Italy, the authorities are providing schools with one million masks, single-person benches and tests. In Poland, schools must organise themselves. This is causing great concern for parents as to how the education will look and whether children will not return home after a few weeks.
This translates into the purchasing decisions of parents. The report by UCE Research and the Blix Group (published on wyborcza.pl) shows a desire to save money. In uncertain times, Poles do not intend to spend more on school supplies than necessary and plan to do their school shopping in discount stores (77.4% of respondents), targeting promotions (70% of indications).
They are suspending their decision to buy shoes and clothes for school, saving their money for possible expenses related to remote learning (computer, desk). Interestingly, this “suspension” also translates into slower use of the government’s Dobry Start [Good Start] program, the implementation of which (1.85 million benefits, as of August 12, 2020) is at a lower level than in previous years (1.90 million, August 10, 2018). This is real aid, but also a drop in the ocean of needs, because, according to the report “School Supplies 2019” (Deloitte), an average Polish family spent PLN 1718 on school supplies.
Uncertainty about the future holds back school expenses. However, they are inevitable in any scenario – open schools, remote learning and a hybrid approach. The money will be spent either on a new backpack and gym shoes, or on a new computer. Looking for savings, parents will hunt for bargains which is something sellers should remember. Most families will not be able to spend as much on school this year as they did last year.