Interest in Black-owned businesses increased 7,000 percent, study shows

Study shows the increase impacted significantly Black-owned restaurants and bookstores

James Robinson works in Black-owned business,The Formalwear store, on Blackout Day 2020 on July 07, 2020 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The quarterly Yelp Local Economic Impact Report shows exciting news for Black-owned businesses. 

Since, May 25, the date that George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis, searches for Black-owned businesses increased by 1785%. Reviews that mention Black-owned is up 426%. 

READ MORE: Harlem’s small Black businesses struggle amid pandemic

According to the report, Washington, D.C. had the highest number of Black-owned searches followed by Minnesota, Maryland, Michigan, and Georgia. 

It noted, “From May 25 to July 10, there have been more than 2,500,000 searches for Black-owned businesses on Yelp, compared to approximately 35,000 over the same time period last year (7,043% increase).”

The stunning increase was significant for Black-owned restaurants and bookstores in particular. 

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The news is exciting amid the coronavirus pandemic which disproportionately affected African Americans, and many Black-owned businesses were shut out of the Paycheck Protection Program aimed at supporting smaller companies. 

In fact, a recent report from Salon discovered that a watchdog group is currently questioning why Wells Fargo processed more than 15,000 loans totaling over $150,000, but only one went to a Black-owned company. 

The Black-owned business boom has been driven by the movement for racial justice, and social media efforts have also helped.

The Blackout Day, which took place on July 7, encouraged people to only support Black-owned companies. The #buyblack hashtags, that became very popular on social media, also had an impact as it routed new customers to many businesses.

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Harmony Kelly-Spencer owner of Perfect Harmony CBD sets up her vendor booth to sell her CD products during the Black Lives Matters Business Expo on June 19.
(Photo by Octavio Jones/Getty Images)

Yelp’s report also notes that searches for Black-owned boutiques, coffee shops, and even Black doctors have all increased. 

Justin Norman, Yelp’s vice president of data science, told Business Insider that “the interest is diversifying past the initial generic searches for Black-owned businesses and restaurants into a wider range of business types. 

“To me,” he adds, “this signals a shift in consumer behavior and habit that I expect will continue.”

READ MORE: Jay-Z publishes national newspaper ads showcasing Black businesses

A 2017 report from the University of Georgia notes that African Americans started and expanded their own businesses by 34 percent between 2007 and 2012. 

The report also stated that African American buying power, estimated at $1.2 trillion in 2016, will grow to $1.5 trillion by 2021. Should that projection prove true, Blacks will become the largest racial minority consumer market.

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