Americans to Spend $40 Billion at Local Businesses this Holiday Season

Good news for local business owners: Americans plan to spend a lot of money on holiday shopping, and the majority of shoppers want to spend those dollars with you! Yelp commissioned a survey conducted online by Harris Poll in September to find out how Americans age 18+ will be shopping at local businesses this holiday season. We found that 64% of Americans plan to shop at local independent retailers, and Millennials are leading the pack! Nearly 7 in 10 Americans age 18-34 say they plan to shop for the holidays at local businesses, more than any other age group. What’s more, local shoppers plan to spend an average of $258 each at local businesses, totaling nearly $40 billion* in all to be spent with independent retailers this holiday season.


There’s a lot of opportunity for small businesses this holiday season, and these insights can help local retailers attract more shoppers. When asked what motivates them to support small businesses in their city, the majority of those likely to shop local this holiday season said they shop local to find unique gifts (67%), 55% said they like supporting the local economy, and 44% said they shop local because it’s convenient. Additionally, shoppers aren’t just looking at retail to purchase gifts this year. We found that over half of Americans (53%) plan to purchase experience-based gifts at local businesses this holiday season, such as restaurant gift certificates (34%), theater or movie tickets (18%) and salon or spa services (17%).


According to a 2015 survey by the National Retail Federation, 1 in 3 smartphone owners will use their device to look up retailer information like store hours and directions. With nearly 90 million unique monthly visitors to the Yelp app each month and 7 in 10 Yelp searches conducted via mobile, these tips can help small business owners use Yelp to attract on-the-go shoppers and get a slice of that $40 billion holiday pie:


Build out your Yelp Business Page. Claim your business for free at and make sure all your information is up-to-date, including your address, phone number and holiday hours. Also consider turning on the free Message the Business Owner feature so that potential customers can ask questions and get in touch with you quickly and easily.
Add lots of photos. Let consumers know what your business has to offer by adding photos of your space and your holiday inventory. Use photo captions to tell potential customers about your products and pricing. If you have a beautiful holiday display in your store, add photos of it to Yelp to show you’re in the holiday spirit.
Create engaging promotions. With 7 in 10 Yelp searches conducted on mobile, a Check-In Offer will help you cater to your on-the-go audience. It’s completely free to create and can be something as simple as a free hot chocolate. You can also create Yelp Deals and Yelp Gift Certificates allowing customers to transact with your business directly through your Yelp listing.
Drive more eyeballs to your Yelp page. According to Nielsen, 82% of Yelp users visit the site intending to buy a product or service and 89% of those who buy do so within a week. Consider targeted local advertising with Yelp to put your business in front of consumers nearby who are looking to make a purchase.


*Based on 234.6 million American adults (according to US 2010 Census) multiplied by 64% of Americans planning to shop local multiplied by average spend of $258 = $38.7 Billion

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