2022 Local Consumer Search Behavior Breakdown

Second Edition | Published March 2022

An In-Depth Analysis of Google Business Profile Trends by Vertical in 2021

Consumer behavior shifts occur often, given economic changes, current affairs, and other unforeseen disruptions (such as the COVID-19 pandemic). However, the shifts marketers have seen and experienced over the past two years are a reminder that your local strategy must continually evolve.

Keeping a pulse on how others are performing in your industry is one way to recognize ongoing trends and benchmark your success. That’s why we release an annual report on how COVID-19 and other external factors impact Google Search trends for enterprise brands.

This marks the second edition of our Local Consumer Search Behavior Breakdown report, with numerous key takeaways and trends for eight diverse verticals to help your business see where your local opportunities lie (click here to view the 2021 report).

The shifts marketers have seen and experienced over the past two years are a reminder that your local strategy must continually evolve.Click To Tweet

Below we’ll share a few key takeaways we saw by vertical. Download the full report for more in-depth exploration and analysis of our local search data by vertical.

Download the Report

Study Methodology

Dataset

In this report, Rio SEO analyzed local search data for more than 170,000 U.S. business locations.

Timeframe

Results were analyzed from January 2020 through December 2021.

Verticals

For the purposes of this study, these locations were organized in eight diverse categories including service businesses, financial services, sit-down restaurants, quick-service restaurants, hotels, retail, healthcare, and multi-family residential.

Metrics

For each business location, we tracked:

  • Clicks on a Map Pack listing
  • Clicks to a website
  • Clicks to make a phone call
  • Clicks for driving directions
  • Local organic search volume
  • Local search (Map Pack) views
  • Direct local search volume
  • Discovery local search volume

How COVID-19 Impacted Local Consumers’ Search Behavior in 2021

COVID-19 continued its worldwide spread in 2021, and accelerated with more contagious variants. In 2021, we also saw the rollout of vaccines at the start of this year, marking a noticeable turning point in a pandemic that created mass devastation for consumers and businesses alike throughout almost the entirety of 2020.

As more consumers had access to COVID-19 vaccines, all industries studied saw a large lift in search views, total searches, and total clicks in the month of March. This was the most significant lift in Google Search metrics seen throughout all of 2021. A general upward trend across all verticals in April 2021 aligns with CDC updating guidelines for vaccinated individuals.

Download the Report

Explore Search Trends by Vertical

2021 Google Business Profile Insights Financial Services Brands

Financial Services

Financial Services saw more volatility in terms of searches and views until late summer of 2020. Real personal consumption expenditure
(PCE) fell in 2020 as options for spending declined and the economic impact of the pandemic cut into people’s wallets. Starting in August 2020, searches
and views picked back up for financial services clients and remained relatively steady throughout 2021. 

Financial services in April of 2021 saw searches were up 76% YoY and views were up 183% YoY, which aligns with consumers gaining more trust in the economy. Click To Tweet

Service Businesses

Mask restrictions eased in the summer of 2021, and could be reflective of minor increases seen around summertime, prior to the Omicron variant sweeping the nation. Service businesses have seen a nice recovery in terms of searches and listing views.

As shown in the chart at left, we can see a steady increase in both metrics starting in April 2020 and continuing to trend upwards all throughout 2021.

Service Businesses have seen a steady increase in both metrics starting in April 2020 and continuing to trend upwards all throughout 2021.Click To Tweet
Rio SEO Service Businesses Local Search and Views 2020 - 2021
2021 Google Business Profile Insights Sit-Down Restaurants

Sit-Down Restaurants

Perhaps one of the industries most impacted by the pandemic were sit-down restaurants

However, restaurants began to see staggering growth in terms of searches and views in March 2021. By April 2021, views were up 243% YoY, and searches were up 305% YoY.

Sit-down restaurants began to see staggering growth in terms of searches and views in March 2021.Click To Tweet

Quick-Service Restaurants

Quick-service restaurants, or restaurants that serve fast food cuisine and have minimal table service, saw similar search and views figures as their sit-down counterparts during 2020 and 2021. The notable difference between the two is in their operations. 

For quick-service restaurants clicks for driving directions saw increasing growth YoY, particularly in March through May of 2021.Click To Tweet
2021 Google Business Profile Insights Quick-Service Restaurants
Rio SEO Retail Local Search and Views 2020 - 2021

Retail

For the retail industry, in particular, the pandemic accelerated existing trends, rather than starting entirely new ones. Total listing clicks were up 35% and clicks to websites were up 49% YoY in April 2021.

For the retail industry, the pandemic accelerated existing trends, rather than starting entirely new ones.Click To Tweet

Hospitality

Similar to restaurant brands, hospitality brands also experienced a great deal of volatility through 2020. Overall, the U.S. hotel industry reported total-year revenue per available room (RevPAR) that was 83.2% of the pre-pandemic comparable, making a big comeback from 2020.

The U.S. hotel industry reported total-year revenue per available room (RevPAR) that was 83.2% of the pre-pandemic comparable, making a big comeback from 2020.Click To Tweet
Rio SEO Hospitality Local Search and Views 2020 - 2021
Rio SEO Healthcare Local Search and Views 2020 - 2021

 Healthcare

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, so too has the need for healthcare facilities. Telehealth offered patients a new way to engage with their healthcare providers without stepping foot into an office.

Telehealth offered patients a new way to engage with their healthcare providers without stepping foot into an office.Click To Tweet

Multi-Family Residential

There was a significant turnaround in the first half of 2021 when compared to 2020; multi-family demand increased quickly, leading to improved rent growth and occupancy levels. In April 2021,views for multi-family residential listings were up 173%, searches were up 198%, and total clicks were up 96% YoY.

In April 2021,views for multi-family residential listings were up 173%, searches were up 198%, and total clicks were up 96% YoY.Click To Tweet
Rio SEO Multi-Family Residential Local Search and Views 2020 - 2021

Key Takeaways

Each of the industries studied faced its unique set of challenges as well as opportunities amid the pandemic. For example, financial services clients, such as mortgage brokers, saw record years in 2020 and some drop-off in 2021 as mortgage rates began to rise again. Other key findings included in the report include:

  • Phone calls to businesses were up in 2020, as more consumers were calling to confirm hours, services available, and if products were in stock.
  • Clicks for driving directions saw significant downturns at the start of 2020, but picked back up again and remained relatively steady throughout the remainder of 2020 and into 2021 as consumers became more comfortable shopping in-store.
  • In many of the industries studied, we saw local metrics surge in April 2021 YoY, around the time when mask restrictions began to ease throughout the U.S. and prior to the delta variant.
  • The hospitality industry had the greatest come back in 2021 as vaccines became readily available and consumers were eager to travel again.
  • Restaurants overall are still on their journey to recover and continue to be burdened by staff shortages and financial concerns/permanent closures.
  • Healthcare facilities experienced the most growth and their metrics continue to rise in tandem with COVID-19 cases/hospitalizations.

To dive deeper into the insights we discovered, download the full study.

We continue to publish ongoing search data for all of the aforementioned industries on a monthly basis on our local marketing blog. Visit our COVID-19 resources page and subscribe to receive the latest research, resources, events, and news from Rio SEO’s team of enterprise local marketing and search experts.

Download the Report

Get the Latest in Local

Sign up to receive the latest research, resources, events, and news from Rio SEO’s team of enterprise local marketing and search experts.

Do you have a winning local strategy for 2022?

Request a free local marketing audit today for a detailed analysis of your brand’s local search performance and growth recommendations.

Request a Local Audit