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Insights & Trends: How to grab the right attention for back to school

With most schools starting late-September, parents are slowly coming back from summer vacation to the stresses of back to school shopping. BTS is a great time of the year for many brands, as a sharp increase in sales is almost guaranteed.

As an important marketing event of the year, it provides many businesses with exciting opportunities. Marketers should be on watch this season, as new trends or increase in certain consumer behavior means a needed change in strategies.



Google recently released their annual BTS MENA insights and there is a lot to catch up on.

According to Google, 80% of MENA BTS shoppers are using Google as a source to find their BTS items. This is with an overall increase in Google’s search engine inquiries of 10% during the season.

“In MENA, search queries are rising 15% year-on-year with searches on mobile growing 20X faster than those on desktop.”

Parents are also on the move, with fathers becoming a stronger buyer power. 68% of fathers will be buying stationary for their kids this year, according to Google.

Moms continue to have the biggest buying power this season, with 2 in 3 moms looking to buy clothing, footwear and sportswear.

As for students aged 18 – 24, 1 in 2 will be buying their own clothing, footwear and sportswear. 37% of male students are looking forward to new laptops and phones, while 44% of female students are interested in buying beauty and personal care products.

Marketers should take note that other categories are starting to make a mark during the back to school season. Categories such as musical instruments, hygiene and cleaning products are poised to enjoy a surge this year.


Backpacks and bags are one of the most searched items during this season. Searches into these items rise 93% compared to the rest of the year.

Read on last year’s BTS trends > Keeping up with Back to School behaviors & keywords

It is important for brands to start finding ways to promote quality over prices as 57.4% of BTS shoppers are looking for quality. Price comes in as the second most important element to look for when BTS shopping with 53.3%, and only 30.5% look for specific brands.


Back to School Marketing Trends

“Edutainment” videos and “haul” Vlogs are top content during back to school

More and more parents and students are going to videos for inspiration and help during the BTS season. With video as a pillar content, marketers will be able to reach and inspire a wide range of audiences.

“Edutainment” and “haul” videos are particularly important during the season. Edutainment is content that both entertains and educates. This type of content can contain topics such as school morning routines and tips on how to study.

Marketers can create their own Edutainment videos, or work with certain content creators.

Haul videos are videos in which people will show off their best buys from a particular store or date. This is a very popular genre on YouTube, where viewers enjoy and accept the recommendations from authentic personalities. An important sub-genre is the stationary haul, which is a great gateway for stationary or hypermarket brands.

According to Google, “2 out of 3 buyers say a good promotional video could influence them. Moreover, highlighting the quality of the product is more important than a cheaper price or discounts.”

Marketers should definitely search for mid-tier influencers for school hauls, as they tend to be perceived as more authentic than more popular influencers.


Back to school isn’t only for stationary anymore

As we saw with Google’s insights, uniforms and stationary aren’t the only things that are popular during BTS.

Marketers should be more aware of potential products that consumers could be looking for this season. Other than musical instruments, and hygiene products, there may be an increase in other items such as

  • Accessories
  • Tablets and phones
  • Healthier food snacks
  • USB and portable hard drives
  • Powerbanks
  • Recyclable items


Customizable or more unique items

There continues to be a strong trend in individualism and being your unique-self through personal belongings. Many brands have been making more uniquely designed items in order to fit this trend, but customizable items are still rare.

People continue to love personalized experiences and products. Customizable products allow consumers to interact and engage with the brand, and have unique memories of it.

Just as with scrap booking, people are starting to love DIY stationary and other products as well.

There are many ways in which brands can join in on the action. This includes customizable bags, lunchboxes, binders, notebooks, pool towels, unique USBs, and etc.


Food is becoming a big factor for parents

1 in 3 parents will be buying food and snacks for their kids during this year’s back to school season. And they are not looking for chips and chocolate.

Parents are becoming more and more worried about children’s eating habits, and have opted to search for more healthier but affordable options. An increase in parents searching for healthier snacks or ways to make healthy lunchboxes is sure in the works, and brands need to catch up and help.

Family oriented brands may want to think about producing content on the topic, while health brands should consider kid friendly lunches or snacks with colorful packaging.

This is the slowest growing trend, but will soon become more prominent as millennials’ families grow older.

Think Marketing

Knowledge Hub Specialized in Publishing Insights and Analytics Developed for Digital Marketing, Public Relations and Communications Experts.