According to eMarketer, retail sales in the United States will increase by 2.6 percent during the 2016 back-to-school shopping season. And although it’s only mid-July, consumers have already started their back-to-school shopping, making it an opportune time for brands to integrate a back-to-school approach into their marketing strategies.

Here are some quick facts for brands and bloggers to know about the back-to-school season:

  • There’s a 290 percent increase in pinning related to back-to-school from July to September.
  • 85 percent of back-to-school pins are related to five specific categories: Food and Drink, Kids, DIY, Education and Photography.
  • In 2015, back-to-school search interest started trending up a week earlier than the year before and a whole three weeks earlier than in 2013.
  • 31 percent of parents will complete their back-to-school shopping after the school year starts.
  • More than half of college students are using their smartphones to comparison shop.
  • Parents are planning to spend an average of $917 per child on back-to-school supplies this year (with about $343 of that amount for technology).

Three trends to keep in mind this back-to-school shopping season:

In-Store purchases dominate, but mobile supports:

More than 80 percent of college parents, 74 percent of college students and 77 percent of K-12 parents purchase their supplies in-store. Consumers use search and social media on their mobile devices to research the best deals before heading to the store. Searches related to “near me” spike in the back-to-school season.

Takeaway: Social and search trends during this season provide opportunity to drive in-store visits.

Products endorsed OR SHARED by influencerS are top of mind:

Shoppers said blogs and social media conversations weigh in as much as traditional ad formats when it comes to driving their back-to-school purchases. Social media assists 46 percent of college students and 30 percent of parents with school-aged kids as they search for deals and coupons on their smartphones.

Takeaway: Integrating influencer marketing into back-to-school strategies and creating social sharing incentives for consumers will help brands’ products rise to the top of consumers’ shopping lists.

Deals and visuals will draw consumers:

Video and visual posts are continually rising to the top of social media feeds, even more so since recent algorithm updates. Visual central platforms like Pinterest and Instagram continue to increase in popularity, generating high engagement levels. Reportedly, consumers rate discounts and deals higher than value (quality) and brand loyalty when it comes to back-to-school shopping.

Takeaway: Combining these two trends can lead to a high return on back-to-school marketing and content creation.

The Motherhood shares back-to-school shopping trends for brands and bloggers