Each year, more than 8 million high school students attend prom. With the night costing anywhere from $150 to $3,000, the prom dress industry generates an impressive $1 billion in sales annually. [1]

As Google Insights for Search shows – it’s never too early for teens and their moms to start shopping for this very important rite of passage. As seen below, “prom dress 2010” is the second most searched term in the US shopping category. Additionally, searches are up 23% from last year, begin to uptick as far back as September, and are forecasted to peak in mid-March based on 2009 trends.

Analyzing rising searches in the prom dress category indicates that shorter dresses will be this year’s must have item and affordability is top of mind. Designers are accommodating teens with collections geared toward this trend and within various price ranges.

Dress stores and e-commerce sites around the country are stocking up on inventory and preparing for the rush of girls looking for their local dress store and affordable brands. Are your online campaigns ready? Be sure to broadcast discount messaging and availability of shorter dress variations this season.

Source: "Outlook Bright for Prom Dress Sales Despite Recession, Retailers Say," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 14, 2010.