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Photo: Jeff Greenberg/UIG/Getty Images

The first weekend in August is the peak of back-to-school shopping for parents, but Amazon Prime Day stealthily advertised deals that extended the shopping season over a few months.

Why it matters: Parents are expected to spend more than ever on clothing, electronics and school supplies, but Prime Day's deals last month jumpstarted the back-to-school season, allowing buyers to plan out purchases over a longer period of time instead of just one or two impulse-driven weekends.

By the numbers: Shopping for school supplies has become a key season for retailers as schools and universities provide vast lists of recommended or required items for students — sometimes specifying the recommended type of laptop or brand of disinfectant wipes. And this is the first year that stores are increasingly using more diverse forms of social media to reach shoppers, according to a report by Retailmenot.

  • More than 180 retailers kicked off competitive deals against Prime Day, a 53% increase from 2017.
  • 67% will use Facebook Live for back-to-school deals.
  • 56% will use Snapchat.
  • 55% and 42% will market their products with beauty and celebrity influencers, respectively.
  • 44% are increasing their offline ads, per eMarketer.
  • The average family with children in elementary school through high school will spend $684.79, steady with last year’s $687.72, the National Retail Federation predicts.

Don't forget: Price is still the main deciding factor for back-to-school season as stores try to get shoppers through their doors.

1 safety thing: Bulletproof backpacks are now showing up online and in big stores like Walmart and Home Depot. The item has always been available on niche websites, but creators are seeing sales up by 300%, Ben Hansen, the owner of Active Violence Solutions told GV Wire. Most of the backpacks range from $120-$500.

Go deeper

"Horrified": AP, Al Jazeera condemn Israel's bombing of their offices in Gaza

A ball of fire erupts from the Jalaa Tower as it is destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza. Photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Associated Press and Al Jazeera on Saturday condemned the Israeli airstrike that destroyed a high-rise building in Gaza that housed their and other media offices.

What they're saying: The White House, meanwhile, said it had "communicated directly to the Israelis that ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility," according to press secretary Jen Psaki.

Updated 22 mins ago - World

Biden in call with Netanyahu raises concerns about civilian casualties in Gaza

Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images

President Biden spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Saturday and raised concerns about civilian casualties in Gaza and the bombing of the building that housed AP and other media offices, according to Israeli officials.

The big picture: At least 140 Palestinians, including dozens of children, have been killed in Gaza since fighting between Israel and Hamas began Monday, according to Palestinian health officials. Nine people, including two children, have been killed by Hamas rockets in Israel.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
42 mins ago - Health

The COVID lab-leak theory goes mainstream

The Wuhan Institute of Virology. Photo: Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images The COVID lab-leak theory goes mainstream

A group of high-profile scientists published a letter calling for renewed investigation into the origins of COVID-19 — including the theory that it spilled out of a virology lab.

Why it matters: The possibility that SARS-CoV-2 was created in a Chinese lab and accidentally escaped — rather than emerging naturally from an animal — was initially dismissed as a conspiracy theory. But the letter shows a potential lab leak is increasingly being taken seriously.

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