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San Diego Tops Yelp List For Best Local Gifts

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Photo credit: Denis Poroy/AP Images for American Express

Shoppers in North Park buy holiday gifts from a local business in celebration of Small Business Saturday on November 26, 2016.

San Diego Tops Yelp List For Best Local Gifts


Allison Andrews, president, APA Consulting

Carrie Bobb, vice president, CBRE


The online business review site Yelp recently declared San Diego the best city in the country for finding gifts from independent retailers, but it's findings were far from scientific.

Yelp isolated local people's positive reviews of local shops that contained the word gift in the review and used that data to form rankings. Yelp also said it changes its methodology every year and this year's included surf and skate shops, partially explaining why San Diego scored so well.

But retail experts say San Diego still has some advantages for local retailers. Carrie Bobb, vice president for commercial real estate firm CBRE, said consumer behavior reports show affluent San Diego customers spend more on experiences than wealthy shoppers in cities like Los Angeles, who are more likely to focus their spending on physical gifts. And buying something like a surfboard creates memories that consumers will associate with that store, she said.

"It makes so much sense that local, authentic stores are really resonating with people," Bobb said.

But Allison Andrews, president of fashion consulting firm APA Consulting, cautioned that San Diego retailers should try and build up online presences too because of how much of the region's customer base comes from tourists.

"You need locals to help build the baseline. Our foundation is a bit like shifting sand," she said. "If you only play to the San Diego market, you’ll play yourself out. You have to be willing to ship your goods from your store."

Andrews and Bobb join KPBS Midday Edition on Friday with more on how local retailers are taking advantage of the holiday shopping season.


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