Sep 8, 2023 - News

New business openings on the rise in Bay Area

Data: Yelp; Chart: Axios Visuals

More than 1,200 new businesses were registered on Yelp across the San Francisco Bay Area in July, according to the company, up 4.7% year over year.

Why it matters: New business openings are a good measure of economic sentiment — people generally don't take the risk of spinning up a new venture if they foresee economic peril ahead.

The big picture: Business openings nationwide have exceeded 2019 levels every month this year, Axios Closer's Hope King reports, thanks to a surge in travel, events and get-togethers.

  • Meanwhile, California is among the five states that have seen the largest total number of new business openings so far this year.

Zoom in: In San Francisco, excitement around the opening of a new Ikea downtown reverberated throughout the city last month, with hopes that the presence of the Swedish retailer and its accompanying mall will help to revitalize the struggling downtown area.

Driving the news: Nationally, new listings of shops and services on Yelp are on track to beat 2022's all-time high, according to a recent company report.

  • Nearly 484,000 new businesses popped up on the platform from January through July this year, compared with about 389,000 over the same time period last year.
  • That's a roughly 25% increase year over year, and a 46% increase from the same period in 2019.
  • Openings increased across every category, driven by hotels and travel (up 39% over 2022), home services (up 37%), auto (up 27%), event services (up 27%) and local services (up 23%).

What to watch: How long economic optimism lasts, and whether momentum continues as banking conditions tighten for small businesses.

Of note: Yelp business openings refer to new business listings on the platform in a given time frame.

  • Business owners or Yelp users can add listings.
  • New business data may lag due to the time taken to report and verify openings, Yelp says.
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