Best in class: What’s trending for back-to-school

Woman with school supplies

Did you know the back-to-school shopping season is one of the busiest of the year? It’s second only to the winter holidays when it comes to sales. And this year, retail sales for back-to-school items are expected to go up 4%, totalling more than $857 billion.1 Ecommerce is also seeing some big gains this year—with sales promising to soar up nearly 15%2—thanks in part to the fact that most college students (70%!) will do at least some of their back-to-college shopping online.3

Whether they’re prepping for school or looking for fresh inspiration, at this key time of year people use Pinterest to help them find easy, affordable ideas that reflect their personality. Last year, more than 11 million people in the US saved almost 45 million back-to-school related ideas on Pinterest!4

From ideas for pre-schoolers to post-grads, these are the back-to-school trends making it to the head of the class5:

Easy as 1, 2, 3

Transitioning back to school after the lazy days of summer isn’t always fun, so people are looking for a few simple tricks to make it a little easier.

  • People are picking their outfits for the week (+47%) and organizing them with hanging organizers, plastic bins and hanger tags.

  • Even without a full size mudroom, it’s easy to keep the kid clutter from taking over with a designated drop zone (+48%).

  • Car games aren’t just great for long road trips: Story starters (+121%) are a fun and simple way to get kids thinking before they arrive in class.

  • With a few supplies, Pinners can inspire their kids to make painted rocks (+220%) of animals and people.

People who hate cutting sandwich crusts love lunch kabobs (+67%).

College prep cheat sheet

Dorm rooms are impersonal and ill-equipped for cooking. People come to Pinterest to find decor that adds style and personality, plus a few food tricks for the kitchenless.

  • Felt letter signs (+42%) are the perfect find for sharing a favorite quote, hashtag or message.

  • Removable decor—like temporary wallpaper (+344%) and washi tape—are easy, non-permanent style hacks.

  • From quirky cactus to delicate copper, string lights (+23%) are always a bright idea. Plus, neon (+197%) isn’t just for dive bars anymore.

  • Pinners don’t need a green thumb to add greenery to their spaces, thanks to these hard-to-kill houseplants (+111%).

  • Easy one pot recipes (+960%) are no-brainers for students who don't have access to a kitchen and want healthy food, fast.

When Pinners crave Cheetos, they turn vending machine food into epic snacks (+99%).

Office space non-negotiables

Remember the thrill of buying new outfits and school supplies for school? Here’s the grown-up version.

  • No longer just for lunch! Paper bag pants (+682%) and skirts are unexpected looks that make stylish work-to-drinks pieces.

  • People are turning to PopSockets (+3920%) as the do-it-all tech accessory that acts as a phone grip, media stand, cord wrap and more.

  • Millennial pink (+100%) is everywhere. For those 9-to-5 days, people are finding pantsuits are a smart way to make it work.

  • Cinema LED boxes have a pretty glow, and they can convey important messages to coworkers in a fun way.

  • Pinners are finding a perfectly portioned bento box (+90%) is an easy way to pre-pack lunch.

  • The happy planner (+574%) is an all-in-one cheerleader, personal assistant and best friend that Pinners are turning to.  

Interested in reaching this year's post-college class? Check out the The Graduate’s Guide to Adulting, a first-of-its-kind 36-page print book intended to help grads design the life they'd like to lead. The Studio at Pinterest partnered with four brandsAshley HomeStore, Rust-Oleum, Ibotta and Cocoon by Sealy—to help grads design the life they'd like to lead and start going to work for the first time.

The end of summer means it’s time to get back to business. People on Pinterest are looking for ideas to make the transition easier, so post your brand’s best back-to-school ideas today. Our retailer’s guide to customer acquisition on Pinterest provides tips for getting started. 

—Eric Wahlgren, currently saving ideas to kids threads

 

1eMarketer, Back-to-School Shopping Preview, 2017

2eMarketer, Back-to-School Shopping Preview, 2017

3eMarketer, Back-to-School Shopping Preview, 2017

4Pinterest internal data, 2016

5All trends are pulled from Pinterest internal data, July 2017