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Usage of directories has been in decline for years, with the internet replacing many of the functions once fulfilled by print yellow or white pages. According to research from the Local Search Association (formerly the Yellow Pages Association) conducted by Burke, search has taken over as the top way to find local businesses for most demographics.
While past-year usage still put combined yellow pages use on top, at 84% of US consumers, only 62% had used print or internet yellow pages in the past month, compared with 67% who had used a search engine. Taken individually, print yellow pages and internet yellow pages were both less likely to have been used than search engines.
Asked about frequency of usage, most demographic groups agreed that they turned to search engines most often to find local business information. A majority of those ages 18 to 34 preferred search, as did a plurality of respondents ages 35 to 54. Among older users, yellow pages—and even print yellow pages alone—beat out search engines like Google.
Other groups that looked most often to yellow pages included rural respondents (37% chose yellow pages, vs. 27% who chose search), blacks (36% vs. 33%), those with a high school education or less (36% vs. 19%), divorced people (37% vs. 30%), and those with incomes under $40,000 annually.
The Local Search Association noted that, despite a clear move among most users in favor of search, yellow pages showed a resiliency in terms of drawing customers to call or otherwise contact the businesses they found, and the reach and frequency of internet yellow pages was actually on the rise.
Still, eMarketer expects spending on print yellow pages to continue to decline. This year, eMarketer estimates US ad spending on print directories will fall to $8.2 billion, from $9.3 billion in 2010. By 2015 US advertises will spend just $5 billion on yellow pages and other print directories. US search ad spending, by contrast, will rise from $14.4 billion this year to $21.5 billion in 2015 (including both local and non-geographically targeted spending).
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Check out today’s other article, “Mobile Activities Rival PC for Smartphone Owners.”
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