Fromholzer’s 2011 study on Generation Y’s usage of PYP and IYP offered some great insight into how twenty-somethings are searching for business information. However, although the study claims 9% of 18-24 year olds use IYP every month, as a member of Generation Y, I believe that number to be much higher. It is my hypothesis that the definition of IYP given to respondents did not include example sites like Yelp and Citysearch, because these are sites that I use very frequently– definitely more than once per month. I’m not alone in this either, as Yelp’ s site demographic breakdown shows that 42% of Yelp users are between 18-34 years old.
Where is the value in sites like Yelp for Generation Y? Internet searches can give business names and company websites, but review sites are where I turn when I’m deciding which businesses I actually want to visit.
I recently moved to Rochester from a small town in central New York after graduating college. I only knew a handful of people from the area at the time, and had only a very basic familiarity with the businesses in the surrounding region. Many recent college graduates are doing the exact same thing each year as they move to accept employment or attend graduate school. They’re constantly discovering how many new business relationships they have to make out in the “real world”.
For example, I didn’t think it would be hard to choose a new yoga studio. In my rural hometown, there was one yoga establishment in a 40 mile radius. I searched for yoga studios in Rochester and I found over 35 studios that I could get to in less than 20 minutes. Where to begin? The easy solution would be to go with with the location closest to me, but with so many choices, I would rather go for the best than the closest. At an average price of $14 per class, I’m spending over $700 a year on my yoga practice and this where I routinely rely on sites like Yelp to make sure I’m spending my money wisely. I’ve found Yelp reviewers to be generally very fair and thorough in their reviews. Without even visiting or calling, I can easily research the style of yoga offered, how appropriate the classes are for different levels, and the friendliness of the instructors.
Yelpers really want to help consumers in their reviews, so often times I can find out additional helpful information like where to park when the lot is full, or which classes fill up the fastest and should be booked in advance. I used reviews on IYP sites to find a studio that was fairly close to me and has everything I was looking for. I don’t think I could have made my choice so easily without the help of these sites.
My reliance on reviews extends far beyond just yoga studios. In the past eight months, I have searched for: apartments, gyms, auto repair shops, restaurants, bakeries, shopping centers, hair salons, spas, dry cleaners, furniture stores, art dealers, doctors, and dentists. In all these searches, I can’t think of a time when I didn’t consult these review sites before I decide to make a purchase or set up an appointment. In fact, I usually seek out as many reviews on as many different sites as I can, including Google Maps reviews, social media sites and other IYP sites like Citysearch and Urbanspoon. I’m willing to spend some extra time searching if it means I’ll end up having a better experience, and I value reviews on IYP sites when deciding where to spend my money.
Rebecca Frantz, Marketing Research Assistant