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Yelp reviews show growing concern about inflation and spending cuts


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Yelp reviews show some interesting trends regarding consumer spending habits for the first half of 2022, according to a press release published via BusinessWire.

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Consumers complain about inflation in reviews

The company released its Yelp Economic Average (YEA) report for the second quarter of 2022 on July 20. Mentions of inflation are up 28% compared to the second quarter of 2021, the report showed. Inflation is especially rampant at casual restaurants, Yelp data suggests, where mentions of inflation in consumer reviews rose 38%.

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Other business sectors drawing attention to price increases due to inflation, according to Yelp reviews, include:

  • Food businesses (up to 36%).
  • Art and entertainment (up to 33%).
  • Nightlife businesses (up to 30%).
  • Event services (up to 22%).
  • Hotel and travel companies (more than 20%).

For the first time, Yelp reviews saw a significant number of mentions related to “reduction inflation,” the phenomenon where manufacturers reduce package sizes while keeping the price the same. Customers pay the same amount but get less for their money, and they’re showing it.

According to consumers, the first in the list of products experiencing low inflation are hot dogs, hamburgers and pizza. Fortunately, Costco’s iconic food court dog promises to stay the same price and size for the foreseeable future. But if you’re shopping elsewhere, you may not get the same value you used to on affordable convenience foods.

Consumers willing to spend more

However, there is a silver lining to the report, which may indicate the willingness of American consumers to adjust to rising prices without giving up the things and experiences they enjoy.

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Despite concerns about inflation, consumers are still looking for more expensive bargains. Compared to pre-pandemic levels, consumers sought out higher-priced deals more frequently in the second quarter of 2022.

However, the search for more expensive businesses has decreased quarter over quarter, the YEA report showed. Compared to the first quarter of 2022, users who searched for the least expensive businesses, denoted by $, increased by 7%, while the number of users who searched for the businesses with the highest prices ($$$$) decreased by 12%. However, compared to the second quarter of 2019, searches for the companies with the highest prices increased by 55%.

Searches for electric vehicles are growing

Rising gasoline prices have sparked another shift in consumer behavior: the search for electric vehicles. Searches for “electric vehicles” are up 97% compared to last year, according to the Yelp report. Compared to 2019, the search for electric vehicles has more than doubled. 175% more consumers are looking to make the switch than before the pandemic.

With the rise of electric vehicles also comes the search for charging stations. There was a 23% increase in searches for electric vehicle charging stations in the second quarter of 2022 compared to last year. In April 2022, Yelp added a feature to allow users to search for charging stations for electric vehicles. Since then, more than 5,200 companies have listed their charging stations on the platform.

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Expert Opinion on Yelp Data

As a comprehensive platform for connecting consumers with local businesses, Yelp data can provide insightful analysis, allowing us to see how others are responding to rapidly changing economic conditions. While Americans haven’t completely changed their habits in light of inflation, surveys seem to indicate that consumers are feeling the crunch. Regardless, it seems that consumers are still willing to spend.

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“Despite rising inflation, activity on Yelp suggests consumer spending remains strong as people seek out higher-priced bargains more often than before the pandemic,” said Pria Mudan, science lead at Yelp. Yelp data, in the press release.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketer with an interest in finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her long list of publishing credits includes Bankrate, Lending Tree and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York with a veritable menagerie of wildlife that includes 2 cats, a naughty kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities, as well as her two sons and her husband. She finds her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.

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