Despite uncertainty around the Delta variant, more than 60,500 businesses reopened nationwide last quarter – marking the highest volume of reopenings since last year, according to new Yelp data.
In April alone, there were 38,725 reopenings, which also marked the largest monthly volume of reopenings since May 2020, according to the Yelp Economic Average (YEA) report, which is a benchmark of local economic activity in the U.S.
That same month, the nation happened to reach its “peak vaccination rate” with about 3.4 million shots being administered on a daily basis, according to Yelp, which looked into vaccination data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to see how it correlated to consumer interest.
Consumer interest, which illustrates how consumers are engaging with local businesses, can provide insight into how the local economy is recovering from the pandemic.
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Overall, restaurant and food establishments, as well as retail businesses, had the most significant number of reopenings over the three-month span with 22,441 and 13,700 locations reopening, respectively.
Although “business reopenings were strong across categories” the activities that were hindered by virus-related social distancing guidelines faced “substantial increases” during those three months, according to the report.
For instance, 592 gyms, 644 waxing salons, 1,214 hair salons, 1,385 brunch restaurants, 531 massage therapy and 275 cosmetic and beauty supply stores reopened from April to June.
Meanwhile, during that same span, an additional 150,940 businesses opened for the first time, a slight uptick from 146,160 new openings during the first three months of the year.
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The latest number of new business openings also surpassed pre-pandemic levels, increasing 8% compared to the same time period in 2019.
New businesses openings, according to Yelp, were “largely driven by changes in consumer behavior related to the pandemic like home improvement, a return to in-person dining and rising demand for cars.”
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Overall, the data suggested that the “increase in vaccinated people in a specific geographic location in April correlates to a significant increase in consumer interest on Yelp in that area to follow in May and June.”
In April, Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts were among the states with the most fully vaccinated residents “and all had average increases in monthly consumer interest of 25% or higher in May and June.”
Comparatively, Arizona, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi, some of the states with the lowest increases in the percentage of vaccinated people, “had increases in average monthly consumer interest of less than 25% in May and June,” according to Yelp.
View more information: https://www.foxbusiness.com/economy/yelp-businesses-reopened-nationwide