Skip to content   Skip to footer navigation 

Officeworks wins back-to-school battle: CHOICE

School basics on a budget.


CHOICE Editor Marg Rafferty with supplies from the Back-to-School Basket Challenge

Officeworks has won CHOICE's Back-to-School Basket Challenge for 2021, narrowly beating out Big W in a price check of 17 school essentials.

"It's good news for Australian parents this year, with all 3 of the major back to school retailers keeping prices in check," says CHOICE Editor Marg Rafferty.

"The CHOICE Back-to-School Basket Challenge price checked 17 school essentials at Officeworks, Big W and Kmart. With a tough 2020 for many Australian families, it's promising to see these retailers compete to keep prices low. Officeworks won for the second year in a row, but the gap has narrowed with Big W with just over a dollar's difference between the stores," says Rafferty.

Photos and overlay footage available here: 

"We know that parents sending their kids back to school have to fork out large amounts of money for the big ticket items like school shoes and necessary classroom tech such as tablets and laptops. It's good to be able to reassure parents that stationery basics don't have to break the bank."

Infographic available for embedding: 

Read the full comparison (and previous results) at (We'd love a linkback if possible).

CHOICE is also helping parents choose healthy lunch box options, with a health review of juice boxes.

"We reviewed over 30 juice boxes for their nutritional content and found five brands that have managed to avoid giving our kids the dreaded sugar high. Just Juice, Golden Circle, Prima and Nudie all have good low sugar options, but make sure you check your cupboard for high sugar offenders."

The Back-to-School Basket Challenge, juice box review, back to school tech and more are available at

Media contact: Katelyn Cameron, 0430 172 669,

Editor's notes:


A sample of products from the basket

CHOICE shopped at Kmart, Big W and Officeworks stores in Sydney on the same day in mid-January. The consumer advocate noted prices instore and then double-checked prices online. Wherever possible, CHOICE priced name-brand items rather than the stores' own brands for a fairer comparison. The 17 products compared were:

- 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