Business directory and crowdsourced review forum Yelp turned to the more than 21 million new reviews that were posted to its platform over the past year, as well as data on words and phrases that saw significant bumps in usage between 2019 and 2020, to craft its 2021 Trend Forecast.
Yelp said in the introduction to its report, “The coronavirus pandemic has impacted every facet of our lives, from the dishes we craved at home. to the home improvements we made. to the beauty treatments we couldn’t live without. With 2020 being a year like no other, it’s no surprise that we’ll continue to feel the palpable impact of Covid-19 in our local communities and in the trends we expect to dominate the year ahead.”
The platform also consulted with Yelp trend expert Tara Lewis on the project.
- Mentions of color correcting were up 29% in 2020. Yelp wrote, “When salons shut down, some bravely attempted their own hair maintenance, resulting in botched bangs, bad bleaching and many at-home haircut fails.”
- Nearly 80,000 beauty businesses took advantage of features on their Yelp business pages to alert potential customers that they are taking safety measures to protect them against Covid-19.
- Mentions of hormonal acne were up 104%, and Yelp wrote, “Irritation caused by face masks, poor dietary choices, increased screen time and elevated stress levels can lead to skin irritation and inflammation. Hormonal acne and ‘maskne’ were top searches and, unfortunately, we expect the skin issue to continue into next year.”
- Yelp predicted that users will seek help from local dermatologists to treat melasma, saying it was mentioned 58% more year-over-year and adding, “Dark spots can be a sign of melasma, a mask-like pigmentation disorder, and blue light has been known to aggravate the condition. With people spending more time on devices this year, it’s no surprise that Yelp users found themselves searching for help treating the condition.”
- “Weeks of looking at ourselves on video-conferencing calls” led to a rise of 20% in mentions of plastic surgery as Yelp users sought to alter their “Zoom faces” and address concerns including crow’s feet, jawline filler and nose jobs.
Health and wellness
- With people looking to stay active while adhering to social distancing protocols, interest was up in 2020 in tennis (14%, but even more dramatic in cities like Las Vegas [59%], New Orleans [49%] and Savannah, Ga. [43%]), biking (interest in bike shops rose 90%), golf (37%) and roller skating (interest in skate parks rose 62%, while skate shops saw a 50% bump).
- With many traditional movie theaters closed or limited due to the pandemic, interest in drive-in movie theaters soared 233%.
- Yelp wrote, “This year’s pandemic also brought new concerns, with many deliberating whether to grow their families.” Review mentions of fertility and family planning were up 28%. In another way to add to the household, interest in pet breeders rose 57%.
Restaurants and food
- Over 160,000 restaurants tapped Yelp features to alert customers about contactless payment, contactless delivery or curbside pickup. Yelp wrote, “From QR codes on menus to remote waitlists like Yelp Waitlist to curbside pickup, 2020 saw restaurants embrace new technologies to serve customers safely and adapt to new customer expectations. Digital dining is here to stay.”
- Mentions of grocery stores in restaurant reviews were up 22% as many restaurants adapted their pantries into mini-grocery stores.
- Yelp wrote, “Meal kits, whether they’re heat-and-eat or creative specials, offer a fun alternative to typical takeout fare while supporting favorite local businesses.” Review mentions of meal kits soared by 60 times year-over-year.
- Takeout isn’t just for pizza anymore, as interest in Thai food rose 15%, with turmeric cocktails and drinks as popular add-ons. Takeout grew at a rate 71% higher than delivery.
- Mentions of words of gratitude in reviews was up 32% in 2020, and the average rating among Yelp Elite users rose to 4.12 stars. Yelp wrote, “Mentions of gratitude and thankfulness in reviews peaked in April as many took a minute to express gratitude at the businesses that kept us fed amid this year of uncertainty.”
- Yelp also shared several examples of foods that saw spikes, including birria (235%). Detroit-style pizza (52%), hard seltzer (189%), hot honey (48%), Korean fried chicken (26%), Nashville hot chicken (60%), sandos (Japanese sandwiches, 97%), seafood boil (65%) and brown sugar boba (185%).