Inflation does not deter consumers from seeking out more expensive businesses, Yelp says

Consumers are increasingly looking for more expensive businesses on Yelp, even with inflation approaching its highest level in 40 years, according to a new Yelp report.

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

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In comparison, searches for companies with only one or two dollar signs fell by 24% and 8% respectively during 2021.

The four business price levels on Yelp are voted on by Yelp users.

People with face masks walk along 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, however, the report underscored the fact that inflationary pressures were still growing as “consumers described more inflationary experiences in their reviews on Yelp in 2021 than ever before.”

Yelp data indicated that prices had been rising at local businesses since 2015. In 2021, however, “consumer reviews” indicated an increase in rising prices of goods and services reaching a five-year high “over the past three months of the year, from October to December according to the report.

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Businesses continue to struggle with higher operating costs as inflation pushes up prices for business purposes, such as including supplies and labor, higher. It comes at a time when “many are still trying to recover 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, New York. (AP Photo / Seth Wenig, File / AP Newsroom)

Still, “companies in all sectors have proven their resilience by 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 approached pre-pandemic levels and fell only 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 the nightlife had just over 9,000.

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