Commentary

Internet Leads Newspapers As Source For Local Eating and Business Information

According to The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism and Internet & American Life Project in partnership with the Knight Foundation, people looking for information about local restaurants and other businesses say they rely on the internet, especially search engines, ahead of any other source.

Newspapers, both printed copies and the websites of newspaper companies, run second behind the internet as the source that people rely on for news and information about local businesses, including restaurants and bars. Word of mouth, particularly among non-internet users, is also an important source of information about local businesses.

People who seek out information and news about local businesses and restaurants are a diverse and somewhat upscale group. As distinct populations, they are more likely to live in households earning $75,000 or more, and have college educations. In addition, the 55% of adults who get information about restaurants, bars, and clubs are more likely to be women, young adults, urban, and technology adopters. The 60% of adults who get information about other local businesses are also more likely to be tech users.

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Local restaurants, bars, and clubs overview...

55% of adults say they get news and information about local restaurants, bars, and clubs, with predominant sources such as:

51% turn to the internet, and:

  • 38% rely on search engines
  • 17% rely on specialty websites
  • 3% rely on social networking sites or Twitter

31% rely on newspapers, including

  • 26% rely on printed copies
  • 5% rely on newspaper websites

23% rely on word of mouth, while 8% rely on local TV, either broadcasts or websites

Local Businesses overview...

60% of adults say they get news and information about local businessesother than restaurants and bars. When they do:

  • 47% say they rely most on the internet, including:
  • 36% rely on search engines - them
  • 16% rely on specialty websites - them
  • 1% rely on social network sites or Twitter

30% rely most on newspapers, including 29% who rely most on printed newspapers and 2% who rely on newspaper websites

In addition, 22% rely on word of mouth from family and friends, 8% rely on local TV, either broadcasts or the websites of local stations, and 5% rely on local radio

Specifically, those seeking local information about restaurants, bars, and clubs...  

The 55% of all adults who get information about restaurants, bars, and clubs are disproportionately young, female, tech adaptive and upscale in educational attainment, urban. They are also likely to be avid local news consumers who enjoy following the local scene, pay for local news in some form, and use multiple platforms to get the local information.

Those who are heavy local news junkies are considerably more likely than others to get material about local restaurants. 71% of those who used at least six platforms monthly got news and information about local restaurants, compared with 34% of those who relied on just one or two sources.

47% of all adults said they got local news and information their cell phones, and these mobile consumers were younger and more upscale in terms of their household income and educational levels, were even more likely than others to get material about local restaurants:

  • 62% of mobile local news consumers got information about local businesses, compared with 48% of others.

Adults In Each Group Getting Information About Local Restaurants, Bars, And Clubs

Group

% of Group

All adults

55%

Gender

   Men

50%

   Women

59

Age

   18-29

65

   30-49

55

   50-65

50

   65+

51

Race/Ethnicity

   White, non-Hispanic

54

   Black, non-Hispanic

47

   Hispanic

58

Household Income

   Less than $30,000

40

   $30,000-$49,999

62

   $50,000-$74,999

65

   $75,000+

60*

Education level

   Less than high school

38

   High school grad or less

47

   Some college

64

   College grad

63

Tech profile

Internet status

   Internet user

58

   Non-user

44

Cell phone

   Cell user

57

   Non-user

45

Tablet owners

   Tablet owner

64

   Non-user

54

Source: Pew Research Center, release dated December 2011

 The 55% of adults who said they got information about local restaurants relied on these sources:

  • 51% of those who get information about local entertainment businesses rely most on some kind of online source for that material.
  • 31% of them say they rely on newspaper material either in printed form or the website of their local newspaper for information about restaurants, bars, and clubs
  • 23% of them say they rely on other people most of all for news and information about for information about restaurants, bars, and clubs
  • 8% of them say they rely on TV for news about for information about restaurants, bars, and clubs – either broadcasts or the stations’ websites

Sources That People Rely On To Get News And Information About Local Restaurants, Bars, And Clubs

Source & Percent Relying on Source

The Groups Most Likely To Rely On This Source

Internet – Overall, 51% of those who get information about restaurants, bars, and clubs say they rely on online sources for that information

   Search engine 38%

Those ages 18-39, parents with minor children, urban and suburban residents, those who have lived in their community less than five years, those who get local news on mobile devices, those who use social networking sites, those who don’t pay for local news content

   Other websites like topical specialty sites 17%

College graduates, those ages 18-39, urban residents, those who have lived in their community less than five years, those who get local news on mobile devices

   Social networking site or Twitter 3%

(too small a group to give reliable statistics)

Newspapers – Overall, 31% of those who get information about restaurants, bars, and clubs say they rely on newspapers for that information

   Print newspaper 26%

Those over age 40 (especially those over age 65), non-internet users, rural residents, those who have lived in their community more than five years, those who enjoy getting local news and avidly follow it, those who pay for local news content

   Local newspaper website 5%

(too small a group to give reliable statistics)

Word of Mouth 23%

Rural residents, non-internet users

Local TV- Overall,8% of those who get information about restaurants, bars, and clubs say they rely on TV for that information

   Local broadcast 7%

Those over age 65, those living in households earning less than $30,000, non-internet users

Local radio 3%

(too small a group to give reliable statistics)

Printed newsletter 3%

(too small a group to give reliable statistics)

Mobile phone 2%

(too small a group to give reliable statistics)

Source: Pew Research Center, release dated December 2011

Local businesses other than restaurants, bars, and clubs...  

Those who get information about local businesses that are not tied to eating or socializing are a diverse and somewhat upscale group. Those who get this information are more likely to have college or advanced degrees, live in relatively high-earning households, use the internet and own cell phones. They are not distinct by gender or race and ethnicity.

They are also likely to be local news and information junkies. Those who get news and information from at least six different local news platforms monthly are considerably more likely than others to get material about local businesses.

72% of those who used at least six platforms monthly got news and information about local businesses, compared with 39% of those who relied on just one or two sources.

Additionally, 47% of all adults said they got local news and information their cell phones and those mobile consumers were also more likely than others to get material about local businesses: 65% of mobile local news consumers got information about local businesses, compared with 55% of others.

The 60% of adults who said they got information about local businesses relied on these sources for such information, in broad terms:

  • Internet: 47% say some kind of online source is the one they most rely upon.
  • Newspaper: 30% say they most rely on newspaper material either in printed form or the website of their local newspaper for local business information
  • Word of mouth: 22% say they rely on other people most of all for news and information about local businesses
  • Local TV: 8% say they rely on TV for news about local businesses – either broadcasts or the stations’ websites
  • Local radio: 5% of adults say they rely on local radio

11% of the respondents who get information about local businesses cited other sources beyond the main categories that we used. These answers might have included such things as advertising messaging via such things as billboards, signs, or phone directories; salesclerk or stranger recommendations; observations of foot traffic to stores; and general awareness of brands or merchants that didn’t arise from any particular information source.

The results, based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, conducted in English and Spanish by landline and cell phone, yield 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling is plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.

For additional details from Pew Research, including the PDF file of the report, please visit here.

 

 

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