Yellow Pages Use Is Surprisingly Low

Within an article about the yellow pages industry on TheStreet.com is this shocking nugget about just how little action print yellow pages are receiving in 2009:

This year, 39% of customers looking for business phone numbers used the Yellow Pages, down from 46% in 2005, according to data from Wiese Research Associates.

As I read this, it sounds like the research group first qualified people by asking them if they look for business information. Then they asked those who said yes to say what resources they turned to for business information. And that was 39% yellow pages.

If I’m reading this right, that means that more than half of the yellow pages delivered are never used.

But wait. We receive not one but three books per year, so only one of those three is likely to be used by half of those looking for business information.

It sounds like there is only a 13% chance that any given book delivered in 2009 is used at all, assuming that all books are treated equally by consumers. Wow.

That would put the industry’s pure waste percentage at 87% minus the few successful non-deliveries to opt-out households they managed to achieve.

How much worse do things have to get before printing and distributing yellow pages directories – as it’s done today – is no longer a viable business model?

4 thoughts on “Yellow Pages Use Is Surprisingly Low”

  1. It is harder to sell ads Daughter Number Three. The prices never go down. Until now. Now it is easier to sell as well if you get special rate overrides from management to adjust the pricing, but that is crony and unfair to other advertisers paying higher rates, minus rewarding loyalty and client spend. Folks will keep buying because yellow pages have thousands of people who are forced to make XX calls per day and bug them. Just tellin’ it like it is! Cheers.

  2. I just left a sales career in the Yellow Pages of 13 years. I won the awards and had a great time. I saw the decline first hand. They are doing everything in their power to hang on to the millions of dollars in revenue. Here is a fact the Yellow Pages in Phoenix for Dex has had approximately 30% declines now for the last three years. Smaller booked revenue than we have here in Albuquerque. Faster markets have caught on. The action has shifted to the internet and is bigger than ever because everyone has Google either in there hand or close at hand

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