Main Street Monday — Nearly Half a Million New Small Businesses Opened During the Pandemic

March 22, 2021

Caity Roach

Main Street Monday — Nearly Half a Million New Small Businesses Opened During the Pandemic

Though small businesses have been deeply impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, new data from Yelp’s Economic Average Report indicates that there were nearly half a million new business openings (487,577 total) in the U.S. between March 11, 2020, through March 1, 2021 – down by just 14% year-over-year (YoY). 

Of the newly opened businesses, 76,051 were restaurant and food businesses. In the restaurant and food category, food delivery services (up 128%), chicken shops (up 23%), desserts (up 17%), and food trucks (up 12%) saw the largest increases in new business openings compared to the previous year. 

With people spending more time at home and in their cars, the second-highest category for new businesses was “professional, local, home and auto,” which welcomed 286,879 new small businesses during the pandemic. Within that category, notaries (up 52%), landscaping (up 42%), auto detailing (up 37%), and contractors (up 5%) saw the largest increases.

Other business models that gained popularity during the pandemic were driven by newfound consumer interest in outdoor activities and psychic mediums. According to Yelp’s Report, searches for drive-in movies (up 329%), skate parks (up 75%), disc golf (up 73%), racetracks (up 71%), and horseback riding (up 41%) increased significantly as Americans looked for socially distanced activities. Americans also found themselves seeking answers from professionals like psychic mediums (up 74%), mystics (up 71%), psychic astrologists (up 69%), and astrologers (up 63%).

To learn more about other trends Yelp data has revealed during the course of the pandemic, check out Yelp’s 2021 Trend Forecast Report, which highlights business trends in food, beauty, travel, and wellness. 

Yelp Economic Average: COVID-19 Anniversary Report