How does your local search performance stack up against other brands like yours? Each month, we anonymize and analyze Google Business Profile (GBP) insights from over 170,000 enterprise brand locations that use Rio SEO’s solutions for their local marketing needs. These aggregate insights can give important context to the consumer behavior you are seeing and experiencing across your own locations. Here, we will discuss consumer behavior trends May 2022 presented.
Google Business Profiles are an important local search ranking factor; consider it Google’s single source of truth for the business information it uses to match search results to relevant local consumer queries.
This month brought continued gains in average searches and views for restaurants and retailers. This has been the trend for the past three months. Nearly every other vertical bounced back this month, as well. The one outlying exception was the multi-family vertical. Conversion actions also rebounded nicely from the decrease we noted in April for most verticals, with quick-service restaurants and retail continuing to perform well.
Keep reading for more local consumer search behavior trends from May 2022 for multi-location brands in financial services, hospitality, healthcare, and more verticals.
Metrics for service business brands rebounded across the board in May after experiencing declines across every metric we measure in April. Service businesses (which include distributors, storage facilities, pest control, and staffing agencies for the purpose of this research) also saw continued growth in year-over-year (YoY) metrics. This includes double-digit increases in total views and searches as well as clicks for driving directions.
Staffing agency and contract staffing employment were 11.8% higher for the four weeks ending May 17 than in 2021. “Staffing employment continues its strong run into the second quarter of the year,” said Tim Hulley, ASA assistant director of research. “This week’s Staffing Index reading is the second-highest recorded this year and the eighth-highest ever measured.”
After several months of declines in financial service business’ metrics, we see a small uptick in most metrics in the month of May. Although we see slight declines in clicks to call and clicks to website, this has been a consistent trend for most verticals as more customers become comfortable with visiting businesses in person.
The background against which these shifts in local consumer behavior are happening is constantly shifting. According to Investopedia, the 30-year mortgage average – which reached a 13-year high in early May – is giving up ground. As of May 27, 30-year rates had hit their lowest point since early April.
Fifteen-year rates had also registered the highest level since 2009 in early May but fell back substantially by month’s end. This is driving increases in mortgage rates, which may influence local consumer behavior in the months ahead. And, despite record-high housing prices, strong demand continues to drive purchase activity.
In this competitive market, having a local reviews strategy designed to win the trust of local searchers is essential for financial services brands.
Sit-down or dine-in restaurants experienced slight gains in listing views and searches over the month prior. YoY, however, clicks and conversion metrics were down. The restaurant industry is no stranger to adversity. Restaurant sales growth fell during the last week of May. The industry saw its worst results since the week ending March 20.
The industry continues to experience positive sales growth YoY but at a much smaller rate than the double-digit growth rates seen during the first two months of the year. Increasing check sizes, driven by supply chain issues and attempts to recover from the hardships that COVID-19 created, mean customers are spending more each trip out.
Restaurant traffic has still not recovered to pre-pandemic levels. However, the outlook is bright in the casual fine dining sector. Black Box Intelligence states, “Fine dining and upscale casual establishments have seen the most sales growth in the last month out of all of the segments because of younger diners wanting to go to more casual but still high-quality establishments.”
In a continuation of the trend from April, quick-service restaurants continued to see MoM increases for all metrics we measure. Some figures were down YoY, although decreases were not as drastic as those seen in full-service restaurants.
Restaurants continue to struggle with a sparse labor market. Black Box Intelligence notes, “We have seen an additional restaurant operations trend of higher wages across the board for all restaurants to act as an incentive for more people to work in the industry.”
Another major shift in restaurants is the removal of seating in favor of expanding kitchen areas. We’re seeing sit-down restaurants transition partly or even fully to quicker service. To-go orders as well as ghost kitchens skyrocketed during COVID and it’s a trend that’s here to stay.
Business seems to be picking up again for hospitality brands as we head into the busy summer travel season. Here we see dramatic increases in total clicks and clicks for driving directions compared to April. Indeed, Americans are returning to travel in droves, as indicated by airline ticket prices that have increased 12.6% MoM and 37.8% over May 2021. Airlines are increasing prices as they struggle to meet the resurging demand and staff limitations.
The U.S. hotel industry reported mixed performance in May. Occupancy was still down 5% from pre-pandemic levels in May 2019. Even so, the average daily rate has grown 13.4% in that time. The positive increases we’re seeing now in our local consumer behavior metrics indicate that consumers are ready to travel this summer after having to sacrifice it over the past few years. Explore local consumer trends through 2020 and 2021 in this hospitality-focused feature article.
Total search views trended high in May, with a 7% increase over the month prior (up 20.2% YoY). This is great news for retailers with a robust local online presence, as consumers are browsing and looking to shop. Clicks for directions also rose 13.2% in May, which is a great sign of commercial intent. Consumers are not only browsing but looking to make their way back into stores, as well.
Consumer prices were up 8.6% YoY in May, reaching their highest point in more than 40 years. It’s a tumultuous market. E#ven with volatile food and energy prices excluded, core prices are still up 6% from the same month in 2021.
In May, consumer prices in the United States were up 8.6% from a year earlier, the highest in more than 40 years. Prices were up 1% from the previous month, the second highest in 14 years. When volatile food and energy prices are excluded, core prices were up 6% from a year earlier, the lowest since January.
Despite this increase in search activity, U.S. retail sales unexpectedly fell 0.3% from April, the first decline so far this year. Auto sales suffered the largest decline (-4%), with sales also down at electronics and appliance stores (-1.3%); miscellaneous store retailers (-1.1%); nonstore retailers (-1%); furniture stores (-0.9%); and health and personal care stores (-0.2%).
While COVID-19 is slowing moving into summer and with fully-vaccinated individuals rising, healthcare remains a critical need. It was the only industry studied that saw increases across all metrics measured MoM and YoY.
Total search views grew the most over the same period a year prior, with 42.3% more views this May than last. Conversion actions are also up YoY. This includes 12.8% more clicks to website, 10.6% more clicks for directions, and 4.8% more clicks to call.
Local search activity in the multi-family residential vertical continued its downward trend from April. Advertised rents have increased $70 year-to-date across the U.S. to an all-time high of $1,680. Rents for single-family rentals remained strong in May, rising 12.7% year over year, according to MultiFamilyExecutive.com.
“Homeownership continues to be further out of reach for many potential buyers, while others are losing bids to the intensifying competition from institutional investors, increasing the demand for single-family rentals,” stated their report. We may see this downward trend in metrics overturn in June because of this.
See more local search trends by vertical for previous months. Stay tuned next month for more in-depth local consumer search behavior insights.