Back To School: This Is What You’re Searching For

How did you get your information about heading back to school? Where did you turn to for buying school supplies? If you’re like most, at some point you used Google searches. The search giant has released ‘back to school’ search statistics for this past month or so. Looks like more people than ever before are using Google to answer their back to school questions. Here’s the details (click any image to enlarge).

Overall, search interest in [back to school] is up about 10 percent from last year.

After a three-month hiatus, everyone wants to make a great impression on the first day of school. Searches related to starting fresh—like [kids shoes], [kids haircuts] and [healthy school lunches]—jump during the back-to-school season. People are also eager to sport just the right look—searches for [first day of school outfit] have increased 20 percent since the 2010 season.

A well-stocked locker is also top of mind for many at the start of the school year. Search interest for back-to-school staples like pencils, notebooks and backpacks routinely peaks during the season, as kids compare colors, styles and designs online. But tech-savvy students are seeking new essentials for the classroom. Searches for [tablet] exceeded searches for [backpack] for the first time in a July-September period. And with [etextbook] searches up 50 percent from September 2010, look for ereaders to slip into more backpacks in the future.

Crossing items off the back-to-school list is rewarding, but it’s a lot more satisfying when there’s a bargain involved. This year is no exception with shoppers scanning for deals before heading to stores. Searches for [back to school coupons] and [back to school sales] increased 10 and 25 percent, and searches for [printable coupons] jumped 45 percent from last year’s season.

College-bound freshmen seem to be looking for ways to take charge of their finances. Searches for [bank account] and [open bank account] peak in August, and were up about 20 percent from last year’s back-to-school season. Searches for [student credit card] are also highest during this time of year, along with searches for the means to pay a credit card bill: [campus jobs]. In recent years, securing a steady source of income has trumped on-the-spot spending. While searches for [student credit card] have decreased 30 percent since 2004, searches for [campus jobs] have steadily increased, up 50 percent in the same period.

To avoid using the modern version of the old “my dog ate my homework” excuse, protect your computer with a [laptop lock]—searches regularly spike in in August. If you’ve been thinking about picking up an instrument, now’s the time to jump on the bandwagon (pun intended), as searches for [flute], [cello], [violin] and [clarinet] jump every September. And for your mother’s sake (and your roommate’s), find a good [laundry service] on campus. Search interest peaks in September, though the clothes-washing learning curve lasts the entire year.

Posted by Julie Krueger, Industry Director at Google on the Official Google Blog.