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40 million words of love and gratitude shared on Yelp since 2004

Lots of things have changed since 2004

Now, more than ever before, there are so many ways to connect with a great local business on Yelp. Need a local pro? You can request a quote for price estimates. Tired of standing in line? Waitlist means you can get in line from your couch. Looking for eco-friendly spots or a pro with a verified license? Keep an eye out for businesses with highlights on their Yelp pages.

And that’s not all—you can also personalize your experience in the app by adding preferences. How? Easy! Head to your Me Tab, tap “Your Preferences”, and start adding things you’d like to see more of. Once you’re ready, tap “Add preferences”, and we’ll personalize your experience! Whether you’re a vegan parent who goes hiking on the weekends—or just really really love donuts—adding preferences helps you find what you love faster. 

So, what hasn’t changed?

People’s amazing reviews—and every experience shared makes a difference. Since 2004, over 40 million words of love and gratitude have been shared for local businesses on Yelp. Donut shops alone have 72,813 reviews that feature the word “amazing”—and roughly 50% of all donut businesses that have been reviewed have received a review that includes the word “love”. (Because, donuts.) There are even 4 “life-saving” donut reviews, which is surprisingly low when you think about it.

Plumbers, unsurprisingly, have received 91,644 words of gratitude since 2004. And if you were at all surprised by that, we’re pretty sure National Hug A Plumber Day exists on April 25th for a reason—that sink won’t unexplode itself. (Trust us, we’ve tried playing the “just ignore it” game.) All of those amazing reviews make a difference, both in helping local businesses stand out and helping the community find what’s right for them—right when they need it.

So, to ring in Yelp’s 15th year we’re celebrating moments just like that. (No, not the part where your sink exploded, the part where you found and shared the amazing plumber that saved the day.) 

GIF showing that 62% of reviewed tapas restaurants have been thanked in reviews, 79% of reviewed sugaring businesses have been called amazing in reviews, and Face Painters are the number one category people are most grateful for in reviews

What else did we find in nearly 200 million reviews?

A mountain of fascinating data that shows how our language has changed over the years, when beauty fads have peaked and faded, and which city loves “pimento cheese.” We’re providing peeks at some of our favorite findings in this blog post, with much more on yelp15.com

  • American tastes have shifted in response to global flavor influences, leading to unusually high interest in maki rolls in 2014, mochi ice cream in 2016, and sushi burritos in 2018.
  • In our early years, reviewers mentioned their Blackberrys and Razrs; now our vocabulary has shifted to iPhones, and from “uber” as an adverb to “Uber” the ride-hailing giant. Our reviewers’ word choices add up to uber cool indicators of how language has evolved online.
  • Every city loves pizza, but plenty sets our nation’s biggest metros apart. We pulled out local reviewers’ top words and phrases, relative to the national average, to find that pimento cheese is huge in Atlanta, while Seattle’s really into teriyaki and congee.

GIF showing that Graphic showing that people thank bail bondsmen the most in reviews on Yelp, 70% of trampoline parks have reviews featuring the word love, and dog walkers are the number one most loved category on Yelp in reviews.

What’s the most amazing story on Yelp?

OK, we’ll admit it—we’ve no way of knowing that. There are just too many! But to give you an idea of just a few of the incredible moments where local businesses have saved the day, we asked a few amazing Yelp Elites to share their experiences. Stories like these show that local love comes in all shapes and sizes, from local dentists to mom and pop restaurants.

Spread the word and share the love

So, what are we most grateful for? How many businesses have been thanked? Who saves the day the most? Our amazing data science team took a look at all the love and gratitude that’s been shared in reviews on Yelp since 2004—and the results were kind of incredible

GIF showing that Over 40 million words of love and gratitude have been shared since 2004 1.6 million reviewed businesses have been thanked

The top 100 things people are most grateful for

Have you ever been to an Izakaya restaurant, and—if you have—did you ever go to one you didn’t love? According to our data, the chances are very slim; 95% of reviewed Izakaya restaurants have reviews with the word “love” in them

To find out what types of businesses people are most grateful for on Yelp, we started by looking at reviews for a combination of different gratitude phrases, including “thanks”, “made my day”, and “so grateful”. This then gave us our overall gratitude list—so, what came in at number 1? Face painters! 

Events-based businesses and beauty services came up top for our overall gratitude measure. Think: that personal chef who catered your friend’s birthday or that hair salon that made you feel your best. What makes this list even more amazing is that the specific categories all point to a few special things that mean the most to us in life.

Weddings, spirituality, and family—even our four-legged furry friends. There are a few outliers (hello boudoir photography, IV hydration, and popcorn shops!) but the majority of the list point to special moments, specific events, and meaningful experiences that local businesses have made all the more magical.

Here are the top 100 categories people have been most grateful for on Yelp since 2004. 

Graphic showing the top 100 categories people are most grateful for in reviews on Yelp since 2004. Face Painting Caricatures Party Characters Boudoir Photography Clowns Sugaring Event Photography Balloon Services Pet Photography Session Photography Officiants Photo Booth Rentals Estheticians Magicians Commissioned Artists Real Estate Photography Permanent Makeup Psychic Mediums Hair Stylists Calligraphy Videographers Makeup Artists Photographers Spray Tanning Sommelier Services Calabrian Spiritual Shop Personal Chefs Hair Extensions House Sitters Eyebrow Services Henna Artists Blow Dry/Out Services Dog Walkers Nail Technicians Kombucha Pet Cremation Services Eyelash Service Cycling Classes Reiki Game Truck Rental DJs Gemstones & Minerals Silent Disco Cryotherapy Aerial Fitness Bartenders Mystics Wedding Chapels Olive Oil Barre Classes Musicians Cheerleading Aerial Tours Kickboxing IV Hydration Floral Designers Threading Services Preschools Dance Studios Pet Hospice Circuit Training Gyms Video/Film Production Meditation Centers Custom Cakes Piadina Tattoo Cheese Tasting Classes Body Contouring Honey Wedding Planning Pet Transportation Pilates Supernatural Readings Acne Treatment Waxing Hair Salons Pole Dancing Classes Acai Bowls Montessori Schools Dance Schools Consumer Law Popcorn Shops Perfume Cupcakes Armenian Sailing Herbs & Spices Hair Removal Ziplining Boot Camps Tanning Lice Services Ultrasound Imaging Centers Audio/Visual Equipment Rental Petting Zoos Skin Care Florists Vegan Feng Shui

The top 100 things people say thank you for

If we’re just looking for the word “thanks”, a few things change. The top 100 shifts away a little from events and beauty towards professional services—lawyers, to get specific! Perhaps surprisingly, bail bondsmen are thanked in reviews more than any other type of business. 

A few from the original list still make it in; face painters and balloon services remain in the top 15, but the story changes. We see different kinds of gratitude moments—moments where a business goes beyond just making our day special or looking after our loved ones. Number 1? Bail bondsmen are the most thanked type of business on Yelp in reviews.

When we say “thanks” on Yelp, we’re more likely to be expressing gratitude for a specific time of need—immigration support, roadside assistance, data recovery. The kinds of businesses that make this list are also more likely to be individuals, such as lawyers, DJs, and plumbers. 

Here are the top 100 categories people have said thank you for most on Yelp since 2004. 

Graphic showing the top 100 categories people thanked most on Yelp in reviews since 2004. Bail Bondsmen Face Painting Balloon Services Mobile Dent Repair Officiants Photo Booth Rentals DUI Law Immigration Law Hydro-jetting Keys & Locksmiths Vehicle Wraps DJs Roadside Assistance Floral Designers Criminal Defense Law Grout Services Personal Injury Law Home Window Tinting Party Equipment Rentals Screen Printing/T-Shirt Printing Employment Law Workers Compensation Law Bartenders Graphic Design Legal Services Trophy Shops Real Estate Photography Screen Printing Garage Door Services Demolition Services Car Window Tinting Videographers Bankruptcy Law TV Mounting Data Recovery Auto Customization Notaries Florists General Litigation Engraving Windshield Installation & Repair Auto Glass Services Auto Upholstery Trailer Repair Wheel & Rim Repair Mobile Phone Repair Business Law Artificial Turf Embroidery & Crochet Commercial Truck Repair CPR Classes Towing Party Bus Rentals Carpet Cleaning Event Photography Home Network Installation Water Heater Installation/Repair Video/Film Production Driving Schools Environmental Testing Boudoir Photography Mortgage Lenders Life Insurance Body Shops Wills, Trusts, & Probates Bookkeepers Gold Buyers Registration Services Musicians Auto Insurance Wedding Planning Glass & Mirrors Electronics Repair Septic Services Mortgage Brokers Junk Removal & Hauling Wildlife Control Jewelry Repair Web Design Pressure Washers Window Washing Damage Restoration Hypnosis/Hypnotherapy Session Photography Tiling Smog Check Stations Home Staging Town Car Service Metal Fabricators Air Duct Cleaning Car Stereo Installation Magicians Plumbing Shutters Signmaking Furniture Repair Photographers Refinishing Services Home Inspectors Customized Merchandise

The top 100 things people love most

Health, food, and family come first—including (wo)man’s best friend. Although there’s a lot of crossover with general gratitude, the list suggests we share the love a lot more for businesses that make a difference in our everyday lives. Coming in at the top spot for love in reviews… dog walkers! Nope, we don’t think that’s too far fetched. (Get it? OK, we’ll stop with the puns.)

Among the top 100 categories, we spread the love most for spots related to health and well being and learning and self improvement—for ourselves, and our families. Categories span across fitness activities, like barre and taekwondo, schools and kids activities, like dance and swimming lessons, as well as healthy foods, like acai and vegan.

But it’s not all healthy. We share plenty of love for treats, beauty, and indulgences too—which is where macarons, sugaring, and wine tasting rooms come into the mix. In short? If we were to translate this into a rough guide to the top local spots for happiness, the story would read: “Be good to others… but treat yourself once in a while.”

Here are the top 100 categories people have loved most in reviews on Yelp since 2004. 

Graphic showing the Top 100 categories people have loved most in reviews since 2004. Dog Walkers Preschools Spiritual Shop Barre Classes Used Bookstore Cycling Classes Kickboxing Child Care & Day Care Gymnastics Montessori Schools Churches Acai Bowls Popcorn Shops Face Painting Herbs & Spices Candle Stores Dance Studios Day Camps Pilates Bookstores Coffee Roasteries Cards & Stationery Dance Schools Sugaring Dog Parks Summer Camps Gift Shops Macarons Taekwondo Vegan Cheese Shops Elementary Schools Playgrounds Juice Bars & Smoothies Boxing Chocolatiers & Shops Cupcakes Spray Tanning Boot Camps Pet Sitting Botanical Gardens Tea Rooms Farmers Market Organic Stores Candy Stores Zoos Gelato Permanent Makeup Art Classes Wine Tasting Room Meditation Centers Shaved Ice Nail Technicians Empanadas Custom Cakes Cardio Classes Hair Stylists Ice Cream & Frozen Yogurt Patisserie/Cake Shop Poke Eyelash Service Makeup Artists Wineries Health Markets Vegetarian Fruits & Veggies Boudoir Photography Swimming Lessons/Schools Antiques Eyebrow Services Pet Groomers Creperies Pet Boarding Blow Dry/Out Services Karate Henna Artists Bakeries Pet Services Lebanese Art Galleries Accessories Specialty Food Bubble Tea Yoga Pet Stores Ethiopian Martial Arts International Grocery Live/Raw Food Coffee & Tea Wraps Cafes Libraries Farms Threading Services Paint & Sip Desserts Falafel Cosmetology Schools Doulas

The top 15 categories that save the day

As we’ve learned, gratitude comes in a bunch of different ways. And sometimes it’s the businesses that come through last minute—those urgent-right-now kinda places—that really make a difference. (And those kind of experiences really inspire us to share grateful stories.) We all have emergencies, and that’s when finding a great local business fast is essential. Think: a breakdown on an epic road trip or a total sink explosion. 

When it comes to saving the day, locksmiths, plumbers, and HVAC all make it into our top 15. No surprises! Here’s to all the pros out there that save ours days and make life a lot easier. Of course, not all emergencies are the same. Sometimes we also need baked goods and sweet things to make everything better—which is why desserts make it into the top 20. Important note: The number 1 day-saving food category is bakeries. Let’s be real: Who hasn’t had their day saved by pastry? It’s a wonder food, after all.

Here are the top 15 categories that people have said save the day most in reviews on Yelp since 2004.

Graphic showing the top 15 categories that save the day the most, according to Yelp reviews since 2004. Keys & Locksmiths Water Heater Installation/Repair Plumbing Towing Sewing & Alterations Printing Services Heating & Air Conditioning/HVAC Florists IT Services & Computer Repair Movers Tires Oil Change Stations Auto Repair Auto Parts & Supplies Hair Salons

The top 15 types of places that make people’s day

This list? We like to think of this as the “smile” list. You know those places that just make your day a little bit brighter and a little bit better? Sometimes you need a new wardrobe, sometimes you need a green juice to give you the health feels, and sometimes you just need a really really good cup of joe. If we’ve learned anything from this list, it’s this: If you want to make someone’s day, bring them a pastry, buy them a coffee, and send them some flowers. Oh, and maybe get their phone fixed?

Here are the top 15 categories that people have made their the day most in reviews on Yelp since 2004.

Graphic that shows the Top 15 types of places that have made people's day in reviews on Yelp since 2004: Florists Tires Mobile Phones Oil Change Stations Women's Clothing Coffee & Tea Auto Repair Fashion Auto Parts & Supplies Grocery Juice Bars & Smoothies Home & Garden Bakeries Hair Salons Delis

Got a local business you’re eternally grateful for? Share your thoughts about these lists and celebrate local love with us on social media, using #Yelp15. Make sure to tag a business you want to thank, share the love for, or let everyone know how they saved the day.

Don’t forget! We only know how amazing a business is if people take a moment to write a review, so be sure to share your thoughts on Yelp. Thanks for 15 years of local love!

GIF showing that bakeries save the day more than any other food, according to reviews, locksmiths save the day more than any other type of business in reviews, and florists are the number one category that make people's day in reviews

Methodology

To determine which categories made the list, we looked at the reviews received by categories that mentioned the relevant keywords. We checked total word count per each phrase per category against total word count written for each category, and down-weighted the phrase count to ensure true sentiment. We considered the rating of the reviews, and set a minimum for number of reviews featuring words of gratitude.