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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

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Virginia attorney general fires Jan. 6 investigator from university post

McIntire Amphitheater at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia. Photo: Robert Knopes/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The lead investigator for the Jan. 6 House select committee investigating the Capitol riot has been fired from his position as the University of Virginia's counsel by the state's new Republican attorney general, per the Washington Post.

Why it matters: Democrats say the removal of Tim Heaphy from his post after some three years while he's on leave from the university to investigate the insurrection is likely "retribution" for the House probe — an accusation strongly denied by the office of state Attorney General Jason Miyares (R).

5 hours ago - World

Taiwan's military scrambles jets after detecting 39 Chinese warplanes

J-20 stealth fighter jets in Zhuhai in the Guangdong Province of China last year. Photo: Chen Jimin/China News Service via Getty Images

Taiwan's defense force said 39 Chinese warplanes flew into its Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Sunday.

Why it matters: The largest Chinese air force incursion into the zone since October came a day after the U.S. and Japanese navies conducted a joint exercise in the Philippine Sea.

6 hours ago - Sports

Gonzaga University revokes NBA great John Stockton's tickets over mask stance

Former Utah Jazz player John Stockton during a 2017 press conference in Salt Lake City. Photo: Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Gonzaga University suspended the season tickets of notable alumni John Stockton after the NBA Hall of Famer failed to comply with the school's basketball games mask mandate, the Spokesman-Review first reported.

Driving the news: "Basically, it came down to, they were asking me to wear a mask to the games and being a public figure, someone a little bit more visible, I stuck out in the crowd a little bit," the former Utah Jazz point guard told the outlet in an interview Saturday.

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