School supplies: what increase should we expect?



516 euros per child, all ages combined. This is the amount of the budget for the next school year established, according to a study carried out with 775 parents, from June 8 to 14, by the Institute Generations & Cofor “Approved by families”. A sum in sharp increase compared to 2021 (462 euros), price increase obliges. First item impacted, that of school supplies, to which households expect to have to spend 91 euros, reveals the barometer, or 9 euros more than last year. A far from insignificant difference when it comes to an average: the expense will indeed be much greater for a middle school or high school student than for a child enrolled in elementary school.

Nearly one in two parents (46%) say they will find it difficult to absorb this increase. And more than three quarters (77%) that they will focus their purchases on products on sale.

Paper, metal, plastic…

If the war in Ukraine has not yet had a direct effect on school supplies, the first orders for the start of the 2022 school year having been placed at the end of 2021, before its outbreak, the health crisis has already caused the cost of raw materials. The general manager of Hamelin (brand Oxford), Martial Ardant, announced in May, on RTLan increase in the price of its notebooks of around 20 to 25% over the next few months.

“Unless the situation turns around”, copies for binders and other basic paper products should also be the subject of “rather colossal increases”, indicated Guillaume Nusse, president of Clairefontaine. Blame it on the surge in the price of paper pulp (+70% in one year), due, in part, to the closure of large Scandinavian papermakers during the pandemic. But not only. The price of the energies that run the production lines, that of the metal staples of notebooks and pairs of scissors, those of the plastic film and the boxes that condition the articles, those still of the fuels for their transport… are all factors that , cumulated, lead to unprecedented overheating of labels.

Paper mills bend over backwards to limit the impact

A context that weakens the specialized brands, already impacted by the closure of non-essential businesses and the online shopping habits taken by during the health crisis. However, traditional stationery bends over backwards to allow a return to school that does not weigh down family budgets. Even if it means trimming their margins. “Since January, we have suffered three successive price increases. Despite everything, concerning school items, we have blocked our prices within the framework of our partnerships with private schools”, illustrates Catherine Bouder, manager at the Thunder stationery (Bretagne Buro group), in Lorient. “The purchasing center (Majuscule network) supports part of the increase, and we, another part”. An effort that can only be exceptional.

The same desire to contain the impact of inflation on families at Valley office. “Having a central purchasing office and negotiating prices very early on makes it possible to limit the increase this year, despite a +40% increase in the price of paper pulp since April”, confides Véronique Le Goff, co-manager of Saint-Martin-des-Champs store (29). In addition, two “100% refunded” commercial operations are set up this summer on a standard school list.

Everyone already knows that the bill will be much higher in 2023. At Clairefontaine, we anticipate a 40% increase in notebooks next year.

School supplies: what increase should we expect?