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Yelp’s 2021 update on Black-owned Businesses

Increases in review mentions and searches demonstrate how consumers are continuing to seek out and support Black-owned businesses in 2021

Yelp is deeply committed to ensuring that those looking to support and connect with Black businesses on our platform can do so easily—which is why we introduced our Black-owned Business attribute in 2020. Last fall, we also hosted our first Black in Business Summit for Black entrepreneurs looking to learn how to build and grow their business, while tackling the unique challenges they face. We’ve also made a number of investments to grow economic opportunity in underserved communities and benefit existing and aspiring Black business owners, including depositing $10 million of cash reserves with Black-owned financial institutions in December 2020 and $100M in the JP Morgan Empower Share Class in December 2021. 

In recognition of the vital role Black-owned businesses play in our local economies, we are sharing an update on how our users interacted with Black-owned businesses on Yelp in 2021. We’ve also compiled our annual list of Black-owned Businesses to watch, highlighting standout Black-owned food, beauty, and home and decor businesses across the country.

As of January 2022, over 45,000 businesses have self-identified as Black-owned on Yelp by adding the attribute to their business page. In 2021 Black business owners responded to reviews at a rate 22% above the average response rate for all business owners on Yelp. Notably, businesses identified as Black-owned on Yelp have an average rating of 4.35, surpassing the 3.64 average rating for all businesses listed on Yelp—this ratings edge existed prior to when the businesses indicated their identity attribute—demonstrating that the higher rating more likely reflects a great customer service experience than any correlation to the identity attribute. 

In the last year, the rise in people looking to support Black-owned businesses is reflected in consumer behavior on Yelp. After a spike in 2020, searches on Yelp for Black-owned businesses remain high, increasing 5% in 2021 compared to the average of the last 3 years (2018-2021). Mentions of Black-owned in reviews rose 165% in 2021 from 2019. As consumers proactively seek to support Black-owned businesses, we see the greatest lift in consumer interest for Black-owned businesses on Yelp in the professional services category (increasing 30%) and food businesses (up 33%) after owners opted into the Black-owned identity attribute. 

As more Black-owned businesses open across the country, we are highlighting the standouts according to Yelp data. The states with the most Black-owned businesses on Yelp are California, Texas, Georgia, Florida and New York. The cities with the most Black-owned businesses on Yelp are Atlanta, New York City, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Houston. 

If you are looking to support a local Black-owned business, search your neighborhood here. If you are a Black business owner and are interested in appearing in search results for ‘Black-owned’ businesses, check out our resource hub which includes instructions on how to add the attribute to your Yelp Page—plus an array of business resources, inspirational stories, and more.


Consumer Interest Before and After Attribute Adoption

Yelp’s consumer interest metric is measured as the count of three of the many types of actions consumers can take on Yelp: viewing business pages, posting reviews, and posting photos. The difference in average consumer interest is measured between total businesses in the category and businesses that opted into the Black-owned identity attribute, during a defined time period after the attribute was selected and again during the same length of time before the attribute was opted into. 

Identity Attribute Counts Nationally and by State / Metro Areas

Geographies having a high prevalence of businesses that self-identify as Black-owned are identified by calculating the geography’s share of the total number of Black-owned businesses nationally.

Response to Reviews and Review Mentions

To compare response rates across business owners, Yelp first calculates the average rate of review response for businesses during a specified time period (all of 2021 in this case). Then we calculate the response rate from business owners self-identified as Black-owned by opting into Yelp’s identity attribute.

Review mentions of Black-owned were counted for calendar years 2021, 2020, and 2019.

Consumer Searches

We compare the frequency of “identity attribute” words (including “Black owned” and similar words) relative to all searches from 2018 through 2021. For “Black owned”, Yelp included attribute words that encompass the variety of identities included within the Black community, including, but not limited to: “black owned”, “African American owned”, and “Haitian owned.” Both searches where consumers directly type a search into the search bar and where consumers click on a suggested term or phrase are included.