This holiday season is looking bright for local business owners! A Yelp-commissioned survey conducted online by Harris Poll among over 2,000 U.S adults found that, while the same percentage of Americans say they are likely to shop at local independent businesses for a gift this holiday season as in 2015, those who plan to will spend more this year. Our survey found that 64% of Americans are likely to shop at local independent businesses this holiday season, which is more than 150 million people. Those who plan to shop at local businesses this holiday season plan to spend, on average, $324 (up $66 from the $258 average in 2015). This expected average spend results in nearly $48.6 billion in holiday shopping spent at local independent businesses this year – a 26% increase from what was indicated in 2015!
The people who plan to spend big with local independent businesses this holiday season might surprise you. On average, among those who are likely to shop local this holiday season, men plan to spend $185 more on gifts at local businesses this holiday season than women ($424 vs. $239). Local holiday shoppers in the South plan to spend an average of $351 on gifts at local independent businesses this holiday season, those in the West plan to spend $332 on average, those in the Northeast plan to spend $330 on average, and those in the Midwest plan to spend $269 on average.
Finally, according to our survey, 37% of Americans adults have already started or plan to start holiday shopping before Thanksgiving, and over half of Americans (53%) have already started or plan to start holiday shopping by Small Business Saturday (November 26th). Men are nearly twice as likely as women to wait until December to begin their holiday shopping (27% of men compared to 14% of women).
So what does it all mean for you? This data shows there’s a great opportunity for you to attract these holiday shoppers and get them through the doors of your business. With 97 million people using Yelp on their smartphone every month, and 3 in 4 searches on Yelp conducted via mobile, make sure your Yelp listing is ready for the holiday season and influx of shoppers with these 5 tips:
- Claim your free Yelp Business Account by visiting biz.yelp.com. Download the Yelp For Business Owners App in the iOS or Google Play store and update your business information from the palm of your hand.
- Update your holiday hours. Consumers are searching by ‘open now’ so update your hours to reflect your holiday schedule. Also, check that your address and map marker are accurate so potential customers can easily find your business.
- Upload photos. We know that listings with 10 or more photos see a 200% increase in organic traffic to their listing, so upload photos of your holiday decorations, the special products you are carrying and your friendly staff, ready to help holiday shoppers find the perfect gifts. It’s important to use well-lit photos with rich captions to describe what people can expect to find in your business.
- Complete your profile. You have 1500 characters to talk about special items you have, what sets you apart from other businesses and why a consumer should choose you. Take a moment to reflect on what sets you apart and add that information to the About the Business section of your profile. This will help you show up more often in search results when customers are searching for the products you carry.
- Create enticing promotions.
- Create a Check-in Offer for consumers searching on mobile, like “one free candy cane.”
- Offer a Yelp Deal to entice customers to try your business for the first time. For example, $25 for $50 for any goods or services at your business.
- Set up a Gift Certificate to be sold through your Yelp Business Page, which is perfect for your existing customers who want to share your goods or services with friends, family, and loved ones.
 These surveys were conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Yelp from September 19-21, 2016 among 2,035 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, and from September 18-22, 2015 among 2,016 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Based on 234.6 million American adults (according to US 2010 Census) multiplied by 64% = 150,144,000
 Based on 234.6 million American adults (according to US 2010 Census) multiplied by 64% of Americans planning to shop local multiplied by average spend of $324 = $48.6 Billion