Usage Study: 22% Quit Yellow Pages for Net

Just 22 percent of American adults say they strongly agree that “the Computer” has replaced the print Yellow Pages (YP) in their lives, according to The Yellow Pages Association’s 2005 Industry Usage Report, which was conducted by Knowledge Networks among 9,208 adults.

But even some of those adults apparently sneak a look at The Yellow Pages once in a while. The research showed that 89 percent use the print YP at least once a year, 75 percent at least once a month, and 51 percent at least once a week.

While penetration remains strong, usage continues to fall. Currently, adults who use the Yellow Pages average 1.29 lookups a week, down from 1.4 lookups in 2003 and over 2 lookups in the 1990s. The decline in lookups was especially severe in major cities such as New York and Los Angeles, where residents average .6 lookups per week.

The deterioration in Yellow Pages usage in some of the U.S.’s major cities is widely attributed to ethnic, young adult and senior populations that haven’t formed a habit of using the Yellow Pages. According to the study, the biggest users of Yellow Pages remain Caucasian adults between the ages of 35-64.

The growing Hispanic population, meanwhile, remains Yellow Pages laggards. While more than half of Caucasians use the Yellow Pages, less than a third of Hispanics population use Yellow Pages on a regular basis, and those that do are using them less than one time per week.

The study also looked at how adults are using Internet Yellow Pages (IYP). Direct comparisons with the search engines were not involved, so the findings are less conclusive. The study basically asked people to compare their usage of print Yellow Pages to Internet Yellow Pages; a tiny fraction of the search universe.

One finding that does stand out is that IYP continues to have its greatest strength with users at work, for work-related searches. Work-related searches such as restaurants, hotels and florists are among Yellow Pages advertisers that have higher lookup rates on Internet Yellow Pages than Print Yellow Pages. Schools do too. Conversely, fast growing health care advertising – especially the booming “physician & surgeon” category –remains very heavily print-oriented.