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Yelp data shows more than half a million new businesses have been opened in the past year

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More than 500,000 new businesses have opened in the United States in the past year, new data from Yelp showed, as the economy recovered from the depths of the Covid pandemic.

In its Economic Average report, released Wednesday and compiled from its service listings, Yelp recorded 516,754 new business openings from April 1, 2020 to March 31, down a remarkable 11% year-on-year. the other. About 28%, 146,486, were in the first three months of 2021, down just 2% from the previous year.

“Our data shows that more new businesses opened in the United States during the first quarter of 2021 than at any other time in the past 12 months, offering an optimistic outlook that local economies are back on solid footing. after a tumultuous year, “Yelp data science told CNBC Vice President Justin Norman. “After a difficult year, 2021 has an encouraging start for the local economy. “

Yelp data revealed that more than 69,000 new restaurants and food businesses opened last year. Although this is down 14% from the previous year, it remains solid given that these companies were among the hardest hit by coronavirus lockdowns in early 2020 and virus mitigation measures that followed.

“It appears that the year-over-year increase in new business openings reflects the current frenzy in the housing market,” Norman said. “People are encouraged to take advantage of low rents and create new jobs by putting their personal savings into starting a new business. “

Across the country, different states experienced different reopening rates in the first quarter. But Yelp data revealed that all states except North Dakota had more openings in the first quarter than in the fourth quarter of last year. Unsurprisingly, the states with the most business openings were among those that relaxed restrictions throughout March or earlier, such as Michigan, Mississippi and South Carolina.

Business reopens hit summer highs

Since March 1, 2020, nearly 258,200 businesses have reopened, including more than 50,000 in the first quarter of this year, reaching the highest levels since last summer.

Yelp has been publishing economic reports since the start of the pandemic, which has caused the temporary or permanent shutdowns of hundreds of thousands of businesses across the country. Yelp measures reopened businesses by counting U.S. businesses that have been temporarily closed and reopened until March 31, 2021, and each reopened business is counted on the most recent day it reopens.

“Business re-openings have also increased across the country and even peaked in the first quarter of 2021,” Norman said.

The types of businesses that strongly reopened in the first quarter primarily reflect sectors that were negatively affected by the closures, including bars, cafes, and breakfast and brunch places.

The tax services in particular have seen a huge increase in reopenings. “In the first quarter, more banks and tax departments reopened to provide in-person assistance – this, coupled with a particularly confusing 2020 tax season, helps explain why we’ve seen an increase in reopening for tax professionals and banks, ”Norman said.

Again, data from Yelp has shown some states have seen an increased level of business reopenings, based on their easing of Covid restrictions. Some states, including Arkansas, Delaware, and Mississippi, have seen more than 65% of their total reopens in the past three months alone.

Consumers are interested in home improvement, fitness and pickleball

In addition to measuring the number of new businesses and business re-openings, Yelp data also shows how consumer interests are changing and how demand began to return for some pre-pandemic activity in the first quarter. Yelp measures consumer interest by counting the actions users take on the site in order to connect with businesses.

Real estate and home improvement trends remained strong, with Yelp data showing states saw a 90% increase in interest in real estate brokers and a 100% increase in removal services. waste. In most states, the demand for handymen and electricians was also on the rise.

“I think the trend we’re seeing with increasing consumer interest in home and local services will depend on where you live and how flexible businesses are to allow employees to work from home,” Norman said. .

“With the recent headlines that more than half of all American adults have received at least one Covid vaccine, it makes sense that people are still improving their homes,” he added. “Americans are preparing to resume dining, hosting indoor events and having a summer that will hopefully be better than the last.”

Yelp has also seen a quarterly increase in interest in certain unique experiences and businesses. Interest in wineries has increased by over 300%. Some states have seen an increase of over 700% in interest in international grocery stores. Some states have seen a 2,000% increase in interest in horseback riding. Missouri and Kansas saw their interest in pickleball increase by 200%.

Yelp data also shows an 18% increase in consumer interest in fitness and exercise in the first quarter, compared to a December 2020 benchmark, interest in nail salons, motorcycle rentals. and driving schools saw brief increases but stabilized. Yelp also saw a spike in interest in guns and ammunition in January, followed by stabilization in the latter months of the quarter.

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