This may be very difficult for some to accept: recent survey data released by Market Authority indicate 33% of metro market consumers rely exclusively on print yellow pages for local business lookups. The data are based on 15,000 telephone interviews done in late 2011, with US adults in markets such as Chicago, Philadelphia, Austin, Boston, Atlanta and others.
Market Authority found the following about media usage for local in rural and major metro areas in the aggregate:
- Print YP use only: 33%
- Both print YP and online: 40%
- Online only: 27%
In this case “online” includes IYP, search engines and sites like Yelp. It also includes (I believe) smartphone-based local lookups.
What the data above effectively mean is that more than 70% of respondents said they use print yellow pages. This finding will strike some people as implausible.
- Print YP use only: 49%
- Both print YP and online: 42%
- Online only: 9%
In the rural market case over 90% are reporting current use of print YP.
If one were to look at individual markets (e.g., NYC or SF) the numbers might be different but in the aggregate they show that print YP usage (remarkably) is still quite strong. Unless you’re going to claim that these data are fabricated or rigged (which I don’t believe) they say what they say: print YP is still widely used. And the sample size is extremely large: 15,000.
In metro markets Market Authority also found that 40% of consumer-respondents had smartphones. Penetration was 27% in rural areas.
What do you think? Do you believe these data or do you have some alternative explanation for these findings?
Update: Almost nobody who commented below believes these findings or accepts them at face value. In advance of the demographic information from Market Authority, here’s some demographic usage information from a yellow pages study conducted in 2011 by Burke (on behalf of the Local Search Assn.):
Those under 34 are more likely to use search most often to find local information. Those 25-34 are more likely to use IYP most often; those over 55 use print yellow pages and other traditional media (e.g., newspapers, coupons) more often than online.