Yelp COVID-19 insights: More pizza, fast food, and guns – Fast Company

Restaurant News

Yelp, the popular business locator and review hub, is in a prime position to gather insight on consumer behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because when someone gets a craving for ice cream, or Chinese food, or brand-new guns, they’ll probably do a Yelp search to figure out where to get that fix.

Unfortunately for us, Yelp just revealed the latter to be true.

View image larger here. [Image: courtesy of Yelp]

Today the company released a “Local Economy Coronavirus Impact Report” detailing how consumer interests have shifted due to coronavirus, based on the relative popularity of Yelp searches, page views, review activity, and other forms of engagement. Here are some takeaways:

  • People are eating at home: Data shows food delivery, takeout, and cooking are on the rise as social distancing persists. Grocery stores have seen a 160% spike in interest compared to last week, and fruit and veggie shops are up 102%. Interest in to-go options such as pizzerias and fast-food joints has increased 44% and 64% respectively. Meanwhile, places that traditionally rely on ambience as a value-add are losing patrons; interest in cafes is down 66% and French restaurants are down 47%.
  • People are exercising at home: Interest in home fitness equipment has shot up 344%, perhaps due to stress or restlessness or the fact that many gyms have shut. People are also avoiding workouts that require indoor close contact with large groups; yoga and martial arts classes are down 38% and 33% respectively. Parks, which are great for solo outdoor exercise, are up 53%, and hiking is up 116%.
  • People are preparing for the end of times: Interest in buying water is up 166%, and gun interest is up 360%. If civilization devolves to a point where food production and water filtration are unviable, these Yelp users will be ready to hunt for sustenance. Given survival is a major concern, it’s unsurprising that many are not in the mood to celebrate; wineries and breweries have seen 44% and 61% drops respectively, and bridal shops are down 53%.
  • People still care about each other: Interest in blood and plasma donation centers is up 204%, and interest in community-supported agriculture is up 405%. During the worst global crisis in recent history, citizens are coming together to help all of us get through it.

Yelp said it plans to release regular updates to its report.

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