Old habits die hard. That sentence sums up the latest findings on how consumers search for local businesses. While there are numerous new platforms available, the top local media resource remains the Yellow Pages with 84% of consumers searching the print or Internet version for information.

The Local Search Association recently hired Burke to conduct the Local Media Tracking Study. The  results indicate that consumer use 2.2 local sources when they are in the market to buy a product or service. Here’s how the numbers look regarding which sources are consulted during a year:

  •  Yellow pages (print & Internet) 84%
  • Search engines 76%
  • Print directories (yellow and white) 78%
  • Print yellow pages 74%
  • Internet yellow pages 57%
  • Store circulars, email, coupons 68%
  • Print white pages 63%
  • Social networks 32%
  • Magazines 33%

The yellow pages also rank highest when consumers are asked which source is most trusted and accurate for finding local businesses.  “Even as reach of search engines, Internet Yellow Pages and social networks continues to expand, print Yellow Pages continue to be strong in their ability to deliver quality sales leads,” said Neg Norton, president, Local Search Association.

There’s no denying that consumer attention is increasingly fragmented across numerous platforms. But consumers are accustomed to looking for local resources using yellow pages. The only behavior that has changed is that consumers are now likely to turn to this resource online. For now, small businesses are well served by spreading their ad budgets across both print and online solutions.

[Source: As Media Habits Evolve, Yellow Pages and Search Engines Firmly Established. Local Search Association. 13 Jun. 2011. Web. 20 Jul. 2011]