As Businesses Re-open, Data Yields Insights To Help Marketers Survive Holiday Season

Consumer interest is up for outdoor dining and outdoor-based professional, local, auto, and home services, according to recent data. As new restaurants and food businesses open at pre-pandemic levels, media outlets are reporting record COVID-19 cases across the United States.

Yelp released data on the economy, and Deloitte provides insights into what consumers think and how they will shop during the holiday season. 

Yelp Economic Data shows an increase in brand new restaurants and food business openings in third-quarter 2020 -- more than 4,500 -- focusing mostly on open-air food services like farmers' markets and food trucks. Then there are pop-up restaurants and seafood markets, as well as those that specialize in cupcakes, custom cakes, and desserts.

People would rather eat outside than go into a restaurant. Services like Google My Business and Bing Places can provide consumers with information they need about openings, open-air eating, and times of service.



The share of U.S. restaurant reviews mentioning outdoor dining was more than double than 2019. And the share of U.S. restaurant searches using the ‘outdoor seating’ filter was up more than 5X compared to the same time last year.

The Yelp Economic Average Report focuses on third-quarter data, showing that despite difficult times in 2020, small businesses are holding their own.

Share of interest in home services for pool and hot-tub services, and landscape architecture increased by 41% and 35% as people spent more time in their backyards. 

States with the largest number of business openings include California, Florida, New York, Texas, and Washington.

The most resilient places in the U.S. -- measured by growth in new business openings in the third quarter, compared with the second quarter -- points to North Dakota, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Washington, D.C., and Wyoming.

Businesses that reopened in September include preschools and childcare centers, gyms, salons, bike repair shops and home services businesses. Financial services such as banks, insurance companies, and tax services, along with retail stores, also reopened in the third quarter.

The good news, 210,000 businesses have reopened that Yelp marked as once temporarily closed, from September 31, since March 1. Yelp saw a large increase in re-openings last month. In August, when cases began decreasing and government entities loosened restrictions, more business re-openings followed, with a significant increase in business re-openings in September, but it’s difficult to determine what the government will do as cases once again spike. 

One thing is certain -- COVID isn’t canceling the holidays, but is reinventing it, according to the 2020 Deloitte holiday retail survey. The average shopping window is expected to be 1.5 weeks shorter this year.

Deloitte’s holiday survey identified how anxieties are reshaping consumers’ approaches to the shopping season, especially around where they will spend money, timing, and shopping formats.

Non-gift items such as home furnishings and seasonal décor are on the rise, up 12% YoY.

In fact shoppers expect to spend $1,387 per household during the holiday season this year, down -7% year over year, with 38% planning to spend less because of concerns around economic instability.

Nearly 51% of holiday shoppers feel anxious about shopping in-store, brining contactless shopping experiences into demand. Some 73% plan to have items delivered vs. 62% in 2019. A preference for curbside pickup more than doubled YoY, and online retailers at 62% and mass merchants at 50% have become top holiday destinations.

Fears of contracting the virus have hit consumer spending. Not only for food and restaurants, and how people spend their money on gifts, but also on transportation, recreational services, and accommodations.

About 57% of respondents to a Deloitte Insights study—State of the U.S. Consumer--intend to limit their use of public transportation, while 55% plan to do so for ride-hailing services. Taking a vacation also appears to be a step too far for many, with a sizable share of respondents still hesitant to take a flight or stay in a hotel.

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