4 back to school trends you’ll want to study

kids in classroom raising their hands

As the days get crisper and the first day of school gets closer, people are resetting their routines and planning to make the most of the “new year" ahead.

Unlike New Year’s, when resolutions are more personal, the back to school season is a chance for families to make sure that everyone’s set for success. It’s why both “life goals” and “resolutions” spike around August.

For people on Pinterest, back to school season marks the ultimate fresh start: a chance to revise their personal style, rework their lunch options and refresh their study habits. So far, we’ve counted 23 million back to school Pins saved by 7 million people. And while most people don’t start shopping until 3 weeks before school starts (source: National Retail Federation), people on Pinterest start planning for back to school as early as May, with Pin activity ramping up by July 1st and peaking in August.

So how are people prepping for the year ahead on Pinterest? Here are the top back to school trends we’re seeing:

1. They’re on the hunt for dorm decor and school supplies.

Those doing a bit of back to college shopping are excited to decorate their dorm rooms and are searching for budget decorating tips, cute dorm room ideas and pictures of their dream rooms.

Meanwhile, back to school shopping for younger students (and their parents) is all about school supplies, from fresh notebooks to fun lunch boxes. Each year, lunch box searches and saves spike 2-3x between August and mid-September—and this year is no exception. This season, top lunch containers include bento boxes (13% increase over last year) and eco lunch containers (30% increase over last year).

2. They’re building up their mealtime repertoire, from breakfast sandwiches to banana sushi.

Moms and dads are on the lookout for kid-friendly food ideas, from healthy, creative lunches to after-school snacks. We’re seeing a lot of activity around sandwich alternatives (375% year over year increase), healthy freezer meals (a 45% increase) and “banana sushi” (a 35% spike). Meal prep Pins like those that show people how to whip up a healthy lunch on Sunday (and not have it get soggy by Monday) remain perennial favorites. As for the college-bound crowd whose parents no longer pack their lunches, top Pins revolve around college grocery lists and tips for healthy eating.

3. They’re snapping up stylish back to school looks.

People on Pinterest want to look good as they head back to class. This season, back to school shopping is all about trendy two-piece dresses (61% increase year over year), wedges and heels, and sporty chic style (49% increase year over year).

People are also looking for back to school ideas for updating their ‘do. Emerging looks in this category include the balayage bob (70% year over year increase) and messy bob hair styles (55% year over year increase).

 4. They’re planning to get organized and get more out of class

July is all about back to school fashion, food and supplies—but by August, that shifts as people start looking for more Pins about math hacks, note-taking tips and planner ideas. They also seek out back to school ideas for desk organization and general organization, like the bullet journal system (66% year over year increase).

How you can get in the back to school spirit

U.S. back to school spending will reach nearly $823 billion this year, according to eMarketer. And with Pinterest reaching 75% of moms, this is the perfect time to engage with and influence that audience.

  • Help reset the routine for the whole family. Offer a variety of ideas that will get everyone prepared, organized and on time for their new weekly routine.
  • Pay attention to trends and incorporate them into your messaging. People on Pinterest are looking for fresh ideas, and you can be their first introduction to a trend that’ll stay with them throughout the year.
  • Start NOW. People on Pinterest are planners who start thinking about back to school in July. The trick is to reach them now, when they’re open to new ideas. Develop and promote Pins about back to school fashion, lunch ideas and dorm decor in early August.
  • Sustain momentum. Keep engagement high throughout the year by developing Pins on topics like organizational tools and study hacks.

–Vaishali Parekh, currently saving ideas to GIFs