Yext, the Search Experience Cloud company, released new research about American consumer search behavior during the past year. The data, drawn from a sample of more than 400,000 business locations in the United States, revealed new insights about when consumers are searching for and clicking most on businesses across retail, healthcare, financial services, and food, throughout the year.
Among the key findings:
- Consumers are only getting more active in search: Consumer actions in business listings — driving directions clicks, clicks to call businesses, and more — grew 17% over the past year.
- Search — and searchers — are getting better: Consumer actions in search grew faster (17%) than search impressions of business listings (10%) over the year, suggesting that customers are finding what they want faster. Whether searchers are learning to use more specific queries or search engines are getting better at understanding those queries, customers are spending less time searching and more time engaging with businesses.
- Reviews are on the rise: Consumers are leaving more reviews about businesses. Review count per business location grew 27% over the year. In fact, financial services review volume grew 91% per location, the fastest growth of any industry. Businesses are getting savvier about the importance of reviews as well, responding to reviews 47% more than the year prior.
“Some industries are naturally more popular with consumers during certain seasons, but the need for businesses in every category to be in control of their facts online stays important year-round,” said Zahid Zakaria, Senior Director of Insights and Analytics at Yext. “By ensuring their information is accurate across channels — from the search results on their own website to their listings on third-party platforms — businesses can be prepared to capture the wave of customers who are interested in transacting with them, no matter what month it is.”
Yext analyzed when American consumers clicked online listings for various types of businesses throughout the year. The study found:
January | Resolving to stay healthy: With New Year’s resolutions fresh on their minds, and cold and flu season underway, Americans start the year off with visits to the doctor. In January, healthcare organizations see a 17% jump in clicks to their online listings relative to the previous month.
February | Money on their minds: In February and March, tax season is well underway and searches show it. Searching consumers engage with financial services institutions up to 11% more than the annual average.
March | Open house: Starting in March, consumers looking to ring in the season of renewal with a new home turn to search to find real estate agencies. Listings see a 22% average increase in clicks from February to May, complementing studies indicating that spring is a popular season for house hunting and selling.
April | Telecom phones it in: By April, the wave of consumers picking up the latest high-profile smartphone upgrades from the fall has subsided. During this month, clicks to phone carrier and telecommunications provider listings in search drop 14% compared to the month before.
May | May flowers and horsepower: In May, consumers look to capitalize on Memorial Day sales and revamp their rides in time for summer with an average 18% increase in clicks to automotive service search listings relative to the annual average.
June – July | Fun in the sun: Recreation and entertainment listings online — including theaters, sports venues, nightlife, and more — see a surge of consumer interest during the summer months, reaching an average 35% increase in clicks in July relative to the annual average. Clicks to hotel listings also bump up to 20% above the annual average during this time due to summer travel.
August | Back to school: School is just around the corner in August, and parents and students are not just stocking up on clothes, school supplies, gadgets, and other necessities, but also getting their cars in shape for the morning drop-off line at school. Clicks to listings for stores spike to 18% higher than the annual average. Educational services, like tutors and libraries, see clicks to listings increase 18% as well. Clicks to automotive service listings reach 21% above the annual average.
September | Falling into a Habit: As Americans wrap up their vacations and return to their school and work routines, clicks to recreation and entertainment listings take a noticeable dip (18% below the annual average) in September, falling up to 25% below the annual average in November.
October | Hitting the books: With the school year taking off by October, families get serious about grades again and search for tutors and other educational services. Clicks to listings in the education category see a nearly 10% jump relative to September.
November | Pass the Leftovers: During the month of Thanksgiving, hungry consumers prefer to eat in, with clicks to restaurant listings dropping 13% below the annual average.
December | Home for the holidays: In December, revelers celebrate the holidays with their families and opt to bunk with them over paying for lodging. During this month, clicks to hotel listings in search fall to 26% below the annual average.
December & January | The season of giving — and buying: Americans shopping for holiday gifts in December drive clicks to retail listings 11% more than the annual average. After the holiday shopping season ends in January, those clicks plummet an average of nearly 25% from December as consumers take a break from spending and recoup their savings.
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