While local searches commonly start with a search engine, it isn't as large of a portion that some might expect. According to a recent report from YP, only 36% of consumers begin a local search with a search engine and the rest of consumers start on a fragmented array of choices.
According to the report, there wasn't a "standard" path for these local searches. In regards to local search starting points, after search engines (36%) the next most common starting point was "visited specific sites on the subject" which only accounted for 15%.
Beyond these starting points, the study found that some consumers use more sites and sources; some use fewer. Across the board, however, smartphones were heavily used. Yet they weren’t dominant; respondents also used a full array of screens and devices (tablets, laptops, desktop PCs) in conducting local lookups.