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What Shoppers Are Searching for This Back-to-School Season, According to Google


Culottes are hot, but high-waisted shorts are definitely not.

So says new research conducted by Google as the retail industry enters the ever-critical back-to-school shopping season -- the second most lucrative moment on retailers' calendars after Black Friday.

Google has honed in on long-term trends that continue to rise (jelly shoes and kimono jackets) and fall (paracord bracelets and anything seersucker), as well as the evolving ways in which shopping is playing out in today's omnichannel landscape.

Shopping timelines are changing, for instance, as consumers tend to search for back-to-school products earlier online, while waiting later to pull the actual trigger. Eighty percent of shopping takes place in a span of just two weeks and among three retailers, Google said, typically closer to the start of the school year.

Related: 8 Trends That Food Franchises Are Watching Right Now

And mobile, of course, continues to grow. "Last summer, about 40 percent of back-to-school searches were done on mobile devices, and already this year, mobile share is topping 50 percent," Google said.

Google's own YouTube has also emerged as a critical back-to-school shopping vehicle for 18 to 24-year-olds -- 22 percent of whom said they "go to YouTube to find out what's cool to purchase." To target millennials, for instance, it might be wise to embrace the concept of an OOTD (Outfit of the Day) -- a wildly prevalent video category on YouTube that currently accounts for 1.3 million search results.

At the same time that it revealed these findings, Google announced new updates to help make shopping easier on mobile devices -- including its long-rumored "buy button,' (which the search giant is referring to in slightly flowerier language: "Purchases on Google.')

While a dozen major merchants are currently piloting the feature, which enables users to purchase items directly from ads displayed in Google search results, Google told Entrepreneur that it ultimately plans to roll out the feature to "retailers of all sizes."

Related: Get Ready for 'Buy' Buttons in Google Search Results

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