Some might say the ability to search on a mobile device from anywhere when connected to the Internet prompted an early start to searches for back-to-school supplies and clothing. While Google data cannot make the leap from the early start to the purchase, it's clear that the ability to research products from anywhere can spur the impulse to complete the process and finish the sale.
This year, back-to-school-related search queries saw a sharp increase during the week of July 11 -- a week earlier than last year. In July, three out of five back-to-school searches occurred on mobile devices, and there were 35% more mobile searches compared with last year during the same time, according to Google data.
Mobile search also increasingly connects shoppers to stores. For back-to-school shoppers, there is strong evidence that searching actually leads to in-store visits.
Last August, searches about "back to school" followed by a visit to a department store within a week grew 20% compared with the previous year.
There is plenty of opportunity to reach shoppers. This year, the National Retail Federation predicts that back-to-school shoppers will spend a total of $75.8 billion.
Mobile continues to make an impact. Some 85% of views for back-to-school DIY videos occur on a smartphone. In a DIY video from Target, one of their "college stylists" creates a set of smartphone speakers from plastic cups and washi tape.
DIY and dorm tours are trending higher compared with last year. These videos feature tips and tricks that help students put a personal stamp on trends while saving money.
Trending products include specialty backpacks from Victoria Secret's PINK, Sprayground and Fjallrave, as well as some from the Seattle-based company Kavu, which makes cross-body bags. Pokémon Go has also sparked massive interest in Pokémon-themed backpacks, lifting them to No. 5 on the list of trending backpacks.
The top five trending brands include Birkenstock, Nike Jordan, Chacos, Under Armour Curry, and Adidas Yeezy Boost.
Children might not hold the purse strings, but they do influence their parents when it comes to back-to-school purchases, per Google. The data shows that watch time for back-to-school videos on YouTube rose more than 70% YoY.