Neustar Localeze/15miles/comScore has just released its Local Search Study. The 2013 study has a sampling of more than 3,000 U.S. adults that use the internet to search for local businesses and was conducted from December 4-14, 2012.
The number of searchers searching with mobile devices, such as phones, increased 26% from March 2012 (90.1 million) to December 2012 (113.1 million). The use of Tablets increased 19% between April 2012 and December 2012. Desktop Computer searches decreased 6% between November 2011 and November 2012.
The study says there was an 18 percent decrease in local searches from Desktop Computers from 2011 to 2012. The study also shows that the internet is replacing print yellow pages as the primary source of information for local businesses. The study shows that just 19% rely on yellow pages, a number that’s down from 21% in 2012.
To explain the categories in the chart above, Portal Sites include Google.com, Bing.com, and Yahoo.com. IYP Sites are predominately SuperPages.com, Yellowpages.com, and DexKnows.com. Local Search Sites are defined as Google Local/Maps, Bing Local, Citysearch, Yelp, MapQuest and others.
Bottom Line: Most local businesses are seeing only 5-10% of their traffic coming from mobile devices, and tablets are typically around 40-50% of that number. Many base the decision to hold off on creating a mobile website or responsive design based on that small amount of web traffic. The study above shows that the trend is continuing to favor searches on mobile devices, and while the majority of searches are still done on Desktop Computers or Laptops, mobile search must be acknowledged as a growing source of web traffic. Factor a mobile site or responsive design into your budget, if not now, certainly in 2013/2014.