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Yelp searches for Black-owned businesses jumped 7,000%

Chevaz Clarke

Black-owned businesses are experiencing a surge in demand following the recent Black Lives Matter protests after the deaths of several Black Americans at the hands of police, according to Yelp's Economic Average Report for the second quarter.

From May 25 to July 10, there were more than 2.5 million searches for Black-owned businesses on Yelp, compared to about 35,000 over the same time period last year — a stunning 7,043% increase. Searches for Black-owned restaurants skyrocketed 2,508% and Black-owned bookstores jumped 1,437% compared to last year.

The news comes in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, which shuttered thousands of small businesses across the country and disproportionately affected minority-owned businesses and hit Black-owned businesses especially hard.

Since the racial justice protests, the demand for Black products has trickled into the book market, with Black authors dominating the New York Times best-sellers list. The list includes books on racism, White fragility and privilege.

As stores across the nation begin to reopen, Yelp's report revealed that searches for Black-owned boutiques increased by 331% and 161% more people are searching for Black-owned coffee shops for their morning caffeine fix, than last year. Searches for Black doctors have increased by 183%.

While the business boom has been driven by the racial justice social movement, the growth has also been spurred by efforts such as July's Blackout Day, where for one day,  Black Americans called on others to exclusively shop at Black-owned businesses. Popular social media accounts have also been encouraging followers to buy Black.

While the boost in business is welcomed, some companies were not prepared for the uptick. OneUnited Bank, one of the largest Black-owned banks in America, experienced a large increase of new customers, leading them to issue several messages apologizing to customers about the increased response times.

Reparations Club, a Los Angeles-based bookstore, posted a disclaimer on their website alerting customers that due to "overwhelming support," order processing would be delayed.

Justin Norman, Yelp's vice president of data science, told Business Insider he expects that interest in Black-owned businesses will continue.

"There has been sustained interest in Black-owned businesses since the initial peak at the end of May and beginning of June, and this interest is diversifying past the initial generic searches for Black-owned businesses and restaurants into a wider range of business types. To me, this signals a shift in consumer behavior and habit that I expect will continue," said Norman.