Inflation isn’t deterring consumers from seeking out higher-priced businesses, Yelp says


Consumers are still seeking out higher-priced businesses on Yelp even with inflation nearing a 40-year high, according to a new Yelp report. 

According to the Yelp Economic Average report, searches for businesses that have four dollar signs, which is the highest price point on Yelp, increased by 56% in 2021. Searches for businesses with three dollar signs also increased, about 31%, throughout the year.  

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Comparatively, searches for businesses with only one or two dollar signs decreased by 24% and 8%, respectively, during 2021. 

The four pricing tiers for businesses on Yelp are voted on by Yelp users.  

People with face masks walk alongside the restaurants on Main Street in Patchogue, New York on July 11, 2020.  (Steve Pfost/Newsday RM via Getty Images / Getty Images)

At the same time, though, the report underlined the fact that inflationary pressures were still mounting as “consumers described more inflationary experiences within their reviews on Yelp in 2021 than ever before.” 

The Yelp data indicated that prices had been increasing at local businesses since 2015. By 2021, however, “consumer reviews indicated a surge of increased prices of goods and services, reaching a five-year peak” during the last three months of the year, from October to December, according to the report.  

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Businesses continue to grapple with higher operating costs as inflation pushes the prices of business essentials, such as including supplies and labor, higher. It comes at a time when “many are still trying to recoup losses from shutdowns,” Yelp wrote in the report. 

Maitre d’ Susanne McDonald, center right, checks a guest’s proof of vaccination at a restaurant in midtown Manhattan, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File / AP Newsroom)

Still, “businesses in all sectors have proven their resilience in 2021,” according to Yelp. In 2021, business openings increased by 8% to 559,715, up from 517,231 in 2020, according to the report. 

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New business growth even neared pre-pandemic levels and only decreased 1% in 2021 compared to 2019, the report continued. 

According to Yelp data, the restaurant and food industry accounted for the most new business openings in 2021 with 74,616. 

Local services had more than 60,000 new business openings while the beauty industry had over 42,500, the hotel and travel industry had over 12,300 and nightlife had just over 9,000. 



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