The coronavirus pandemic brought unprecedented changes to practically every market around the world. While existing businesses struggled with new safety requirements, the number of new business openings slowed significantly.
As we come to the end of the second year of living with the COVID pandemic, though, it appears new business openings are close to reaching pre-pandemic levels, according to Yelp’s COVID-19 Second Anniversary Report.
Specifically, new business openings in the second year of the pandemic were just 1% below rates from the year before the pandemic (2019). Over the year, at least 521,926 new businesses were established – up 14% from the first year of the pandemic.
How New Variants Affected New Business Openings
While new business openings are on the rise overall, this is not happening without setbacks. The Delta and Omicron variants caused dips in openings, especially in the largest cities across the US. In many cities, these hurdles slowed growth enough to cause an overall decrease in openings.
Despite this, other cities like Atlanta, Dallas, and Detroit helped offset these losses.
New Expectations For Businesses
While openings are returning to pre-pandemic rates, Yelp emphasized that the coronavirus pandemic is still strongly influencing consumer behavior. For example, interest in outdoor seating continued to rise by 292% in the second year of the pandemic.
Similarly, consumer interest continues to be heightened for outdoor activities, including scooter rentals, outdoor movies, and the newly trendy pickleball.
The Big Picture
Businesses continue to stand strong in the face of the COVID pandemic, despite new challenges like labor shortages and supply bottlenecks. Being adaptable has long been a key trait of successful businesses, especially after the onset of the COVID pandemic.