Yext, Inc. (NYSE: YEXT), the platform for Brand Verified Answers in search, released new data on how consumer search behavior changes in the days leading up to the Fourth of July holiday.
The research reveals insights into the businesses that consumers request driving directions to during the week of Independence Day, including a general uptick in clicks for directions to ice cream shops that peaked at 93% above average on July 3rd in 2017. During a time when brand reputations are at stake, businesses can capture consumers — sweet-tooth or not — during the summer holiday by ensuring that their online information, including locations and hours of operation, is accurate and up to date.
Yext analyzed clicks for driving directions by business category the week of July 4th,* and found:
- Baseball, Hot Dogs, and…Sectionals?: July 1st is a popular day for appliances and furniture retailers, with 24% and 25% more directions requests than normal, respectively, in 2018. While toasters and couches may not fit the traditional mold of celebrating America's birthday, shoppers may be using the day to take advantage of holiday sales in these categories.
- Celebration Prep Starts July 2nd**:** As consumers prepare their homes and gardens to host Fourth of July festivities or pick up any outdoor equipment for barbecues, clicks for driving directions to home improvement stores rise 10% on July 2nd compared to the average.
- Consumers Stock Up the Day Before**:** On July 3rd, grocery stores hit 24% above average as consumers look to stock up on food for parties and cookouts.
- The Freedom to Spend: With banks closed on Independence Day, driving directions requests to banks and ATMs dive to 59% below average. Instead, consumers pack their wallets on the days leading up to the holiday — with clicks peaking at 32% above average on July 3rd — so they have cash to spend at the beach and beyond.
- We All Scream for Ice Cream, All Week: Driving directions requests to ice cream shops went up 54% on July 4th compared to the average and remained high throughout the week in 2018. The previous year revealed a similar trend, but consumers got a head start on indulging in sweet summer treats with clicks spiking to 93% above average the day before the holiday.
- Independence from Chores: On July 4th, consumers are in holiday mode, and getting things done around the house is far from their minds. Cleaning services and supply stores experience a whopping 80% fewer directions requests than normal.
- Heading Out of Town for the Holiday: The day of the week that July 4th falls on seems to impact hotel traffic trends. In 2018, when the holiday landed mid-week, requests for hotel directions were as low as 15% below average in the days before. On the other hand, when the holiday fell closer to the weekend in 2017, hotels saw a bump as high as 15% above average — likely because working people were able to extend their weekends and take a short vacation.
- Banks bounce back on July 5th: Following a dive on Independence Day, banking and financial services see 20% more clicks for directions than normal as consumers look to refill any holes the holiday burned in their wallets.
"The week of July 4th is a peak time for some of the businesses we normally associate with a summer holiday, like ice cream shops, supermarkets, and home improvement stores, but our data shows it's also an opportunity for unexpected businesses, like appliances and furniture retailers. Considerations such as which day of the week the holiday falls on and how close it is to a weekend also impact consumer search habits, especially in the hospitality sector," said Zahid Zakaria, Senior Director of Insights and Analytics at Yext. "Holidays are always critical times for businesses, because these are the times when consumers are out of their routines and are looking up businesses to visit. It's more important than ever for businesses of all kinds to deliver verified answers to consumer questions in search at these peak moments."
*Yext examined the volume of clicks for driving directions during 10 days consisting of the weekend before, the week of, and the weekend after July 4th in 2017 and 2018. All findings refer to the 2018 data, unless otherwise noted. This data, gathered from Yext's customer businesses, was then compared against averages by day from the three preceding weeks.