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The cost of UK proms increases to nearly £90 million

15 June 2015

The average amount spent on a daughter’s prom has increased to £220 – up 25% in two years

The high school prom is quickly becoming a regular fixture on UK school calendars, with parents picking up the bill for everything from dazzling dresses to spray tans and limousines. According to new research from Gocompare.com, proms now cost parents nearly £90 million a year*.

The average amount spent on a daughter’s prom is now £220, up from £176 in 2013 and £204 in 2014. A remarkable 24% of parents said they’d spent over £300 on their daughter’s prom night.

Sons have a slightly cheaper night out spending on average £157. That’s a slight drop from £167 last year, but still a significant increase from £131 in 2013.

The average cost of a high school prom has increased from £154 in 2013, to £186 in 2014 and now £190 in 2015 - an increase of 23% in two years.

London parents spend the most on their children on average at £262 each, with East Midlands parents spending the least, at £152.

  • Average cost of a prom now £190 – up 23% from 2013
  • UK high school prom industry now worth nearly £90m a year
  • Average cost of a daughter’s high school prom night - £220
  • Average cost of a son’s high school prom night - £157
  • London parents spend the most on their children - £262
  • East Midlands parents spend the least - £152
  • Nearly a quarter (24%) of parents said they’d spent over £300 on their daughter’s prom

Which region spends the most on proms?


£££s spent on daughters’ prom nights

£££s spent on sons’ prom nights

Average combined





West Midlands




Yorkshire & Humber




East Anglia




North East








South West




North West




South East




Northern Ireland








East Midlands








Peak prom season runs from around mid-June to mid-July, when exams are finished and year 12s can let their hair down for one last high school party. New dresses, suits, limousines, fake tans and professional hair and make-up are all arranged to ensure the prom kings and queens look amazing and arrive in style.

The most popular prom night purchases (aside from the ticket):

  1. 84% of  girls have a new dress – 74% of boys have a new suit or outfit
  2. 45% of girls and 42% of boys have a professional hair do
  3. 28% of girls and 22% of boys have a prom night car
  4. 23% of girls have flowers or a corsage – 12% of boys get them for their date
  5. 14% of girls have their make-up professionally applied
  6. 19% of girls and 6% of boys have a spray/fake tan
  7. 10% of boys have some other prom night transport such as a helicopter or motorbike

However, whilst 21% of parents are pleased to see their children have a prom night, 31% said that the cost had been yet another drain on their already stretched finances and 9% said they spent too much on the prom. More than a quarter (27%) thought proms encouraged unhealthy competition to be the best dressed or arrive in the most unusual way. 14% of parents with 16 to 19 year old children would prefer it if prom nights were banned.

Ella Hastings from Gocompare.com, said: “UK high school proms have become a £90m a year industry, with parents paying out a small fortune to give their children one last party before heading off to work or further education. However, behind the glitz and glamour of prom dresses, flash cars and spray tans, are cash-strapped parents struggling to meet the ever increasing costs.

“With parents under pressure to spend hundreds of pounds on prom night, families should discuss the topic with their children and consider agreeing a budget from the start so that spending remains within reason. Other ways to save money include picking up a prom dress from a clothes exchange instead of buying new, and having a pre-prom hair and make-up party for girls may be a fun way to avoid paying for professionals.

“Everyone wants to have a fantastic prom night, but it’s not about who can land their parents with the biggest bill. It’s about having a great night out which you, your friends and your parents can look back on with fond memories.”


Notes to editors:

Between the 27th of May and the 1st of June 2015, OnePoll surveyed 1,000 randomly selected UK parents of 16 to 19 year old children.

*£90.m – According to ONS population figures there are approximately 714,000 16 year olds in the UK. With 66% attending a Prom that makes 471,000 children. With an average spend of £190.00 per child that makes £89.490m a year.