A-level results day 2021: a guide for brands

COVID-19 has caused almost every delay imaginable – but it’s had the opposite effect on results day 2021. A-level students are set to receive their results early, at the start of July. Here’s what that means for brands.

Usually, UK A-level students find out what university they’ll be attending at the same time each year – in late August. But 2021 is no typical year. First things first, A-level students won’t actually sit centralised exams this year – instead, they’ll most likely complete tests internally that will be assessed by their teachers.

A boy walks down an isle of books

According to a new proposal, A-level students will find out their grades around a month earlier than usual. At present, Ofqual and the Department for Education are consulting on the exact details of A-level assessment and results for 2021 – but proposals indicate that results could be released in early July. 

The proposed earlier date will give more time for students to appeal their grades if needs be – something that will come as good news to this years’ school leavers, who will no doubt remember the chaos surrounding last years’ results day. If results are released in July, students will also have longer to plan their move to university.

An earlier Freshers shopping period?

In previous years, our research has shown that most students typically start their university shopping in August or September – in line with the usual A-level results day. But if results are released earlier this year, we predict that students will be browsing for bargains much earlier.

Last year, 10% of students started their Freshers shopping in July – a figure that we expect will rise if results day is brought forward by a month. It’s a shopping shift that brands should bear in mind; students make some of their biggest purchases of the year at this time, and as soon as their university place is confirmed, they’ll be browsing for the essentials.

Results day means picking up key uni purchases - such as the laptop and stationary pictured here.

Tech, mobile and homewares are huge purchasing categories during the Freshers period – so if your brand fits into those sectors, consider planning to have your usual student offers ready in July instead of August this year. Fashion, health and beauty are also high on students’ Freshers shopping lists – plus, if results day has gone well for them, they’ll be looking to treat themselves as they move into this new phase of their lives.

Freshers shopping could well start earlier this year – which means you should, too. Get a headstart on planning the ultimate freshers’ campaign with our Gen Z Campaign Planner.