Etsy back-to-school trends – What you need to know for your product and design ideas

Even though 2020 has brought with it a whole lot of craziness, this year sure is flying by. And it’s hard to believe it’s already back-to-school season. Of course, there is a ton of uncertainty and challenges accompanying the start of the new school year.

Parents and school staff alike are hesitant about kids returning to the classroom. They want to do what’s best in terms of the health and safety of students and faculty members. But no one is 100% sure what that actually is. And that’s making the start of the 2020 school year a stressful time for a lot of people.

Despite the uncertainty, back-to-school shopping is still going strong, according to a recent Etsy news article. And there is still a large demand for school-related items. Customers are just now looking for products that better fit with the current situation and sellers are adapting their designs and product lines accordingly.

Some of the biggest back-to-school trends happening right now on Etsy include…

  • Kid-friendly face masks
  • School staff appreciation gifts
  • At-home learning accessories
  • Distance learning first-day-of-school items

You can incorporate these trends into your own product and design ideas and as a result, optimize your chances of creating back-to-school items customers will love.

Below, I’m going to talk about each of these trends in more depth. Then, I’m going to share design ideas for each trend as well as an example of a social media post you might create to promote your designs.

Let’s take a look…

Face masks with kid-friendly designs 

Face masks have become a staple for just about everyone, everywhere at this point. And regardless of whether kids and school staff are returning to school this fall, face masks are still a must-have item for everyday use.

According to Etsy, “Over the last three months, ‘face mask’ was consistently the top search on Etsy, with one reusable or washable face mask related search every second over the past 30 days.”

Face mask design ideas

The most popular face mask search used to be for solid black face masks. But that’s changed. And now, face masks have become a means of self-expression. Kids, especially, love showing off their sense of style with their face masks, gravitating towards masks with bright florals, stripes, and tie-dye patterns.

When creating face mask designs with kids in mind, keep it fun. Use lots of colors. Include images of animals and other things kids love, like unicorns, mermaids, trucks, and dinosaurs.

Here are some examples (I searched for “face masks for kids” on Etsy):

These Etsy back to school trends can help your ecommerce business

These Etsy back to school trends can help your ecommerce business

These Etsy back to school trends can help your ecommerce business

Just, of course, be mindful not to include images that are copyright violations.

Social media post example

Whether your kids are learning in school or at home this year, keep them safe and stylish with our new collection of face masks with kid-approved, super fun designs: [insert link]. Save 10% when you use promo code BACK2SCHOOL #FaceMasksForKids

Teacher and school staff appreciation gifts 

When looking at trends from the same time in 2019, Etsy reported seeing a 26% and 27% surge in searches for back-to-school teacher and school faculty gifts respectively. Given all of the debate and uncertainty about what’s happening in the fall with schools, customers are extra keen to show their appreciation for their local educators and school staff.

Gift design ideas

To come up with great design ideas for teachers and school staff, think of products they’d enjoy receiving most — e.g. coffee mugs, travel mugs, coasters, signs, or even face masks. It’s also a great idea to include personalization options, so people can add a specific teacher or school staff member’s name, making the gift all the more meaningful.

Keep these designs cheery and lighthearted and express a lot of gratitude. You can also incorporate things related to the pandemic into your designs, such as teaching over zoom or needing to keep a lot of hand sanitizer on hand.

Here are some examples (I searched for “pandemic teacher gift” on Etsy):

These Etsy back to school trends can help your ecommerce business

These Etsy back to school trends can help your ecommerce business

These Etsy back to school trends can help your ecommerce business

These Etsy back to school trends can help your ecommerce business

Social media post example

#Teachers and #school faculty need extra love this year. Show your appreciation for amazing #educators by giving them something that’s sure to brighten their day. Check out our collection here: [insert link]. Promo code THANKS saves you 15%

Accessories for learning at home 

Even if students don’t return to school this fall, parents may still want to set up an at-home workspace or learning environment for their kids. Etsy reports a 131% increase in searches for desks and desk accessories. Searches for homeschool planners have increased by 216%. And searches for learning charts have risen by 68%.

Design and product ideas

There are a lot of possibilities here. You can make canvases or printables that serve as planners and learning charts. You can make fun designs featuring information like…

  • The alphabet
  • Multiplication tables
  • The periodic table
  • Fractions
  • Cursive letters
  • State, province, and country capitals
  • Names of world leaders
  • And so on!

Putting this information on canvases or printables gives parents something to hang or place where their kids do their homeschooling to create more of a classroom-like environment.

Here are some examples (I searched for “alphabet sign,” multiplication tables sign” and “state capitals sign” on Etsy:

These Etsy back to school trends can help your ecommerce business

These Etsy back to school trends can help your ecommerce business

These Etsy back to school trends can help your ecommerce business

Social media post example

Make at-home learning fun and engaging with colorful printables and canvases. Topics include the ABCs, math problems, geography, science, and language! Check out the collection here: [insert link]. Use promo code LEARN to save 10% #schoolsuppliesfor2020

First-day-of-school signs & apparel (with a distance learning twist)

Scrolling through social media feeds at the start of a new school year, you’ve probably noticed pictures of your friends’ or family members’ kids holding signs to commemorate the first day of school. The signs often say things like the child’s name, the grade they’re in, a few of their likes and dislikes, and their teacher’s name.

These pictures are super cute and they’re a tradition in a lot of families — a tradition that isn’t going to be broken even during the pandemic. People want to maintain as much of a sense of normalcy as they can, and celebrating milestones is part of that.

Design ideas

Etsy says there are over 24K search results for first day of school signs. But sellers are creating pandemic-related variations that say things like “First day of distance learning grade 3” or “First day of virtual kindergarten.”

You can create signs (e.g. printables or canvases) that say these types of things from preschool all the way up to college (although this is mostly a tradition parents carry out when their kids are young.)

Plus, Etsy says that in addition to the typical “first day of school” posters and canvases, “first day of school” wearables are popular this year too. So you can also create “first day of distance learning” t-shirts. And you can offer a lot of personalization options with these products.

Here are some examples (I searched for “pandemic first day of school” on Etsy):

These Etsy back to school trends can help your ecommerce business

These Etsy back to school trends can help your ecommerce business

These Etsy back to school trends can help your ecommerce business

These Etsy back to school trends can help your ecommerce business

Social media post example

You can still commemorate the start of your kiddo’s new school year with these #DistanceLearning #FirstDayOfSchool signs and t-shirts. Check out the great stuff our shop has to offer here: [insert link]. Use promo code SCHOOL to take 10% off your order

What do you think of these Etsy back-to-school trends? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. Also, if you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends and followers!

These Etsy back to school trends can help your ecommerce business

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