Franchising: The Younger Generation Steps Up
Millennials portend a bright future for the industry.
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Franchising is not just for baby boomers anymore, at least according to the latest information on ownership demographics. Heavily cited research from Franchise Insights, a leading data and intelligence group, found that Gen Y – or millennials (ages 25-40) – have now surpassed the baby boomers (ages 57-75) among those seeking franchise ownership opportunities, with Gen X (ages 41-56) still "King of the Hill" at 48.2%. The younger generation of future franchise seekers is 24.7%, edging out the boomers who now make up 23.4% of all inquiries. As the younger generation steps up, it's a positive sign for the franchising industry as it's now positioned for an extended growth period – given the ownership dreams of this demographic remain strong.
Breaking down age group labels
Age group-related statistics can often provide valuable insight to growing patterns in business. To review what we're working with, here's a refresher:
Baby Boomers (ages 57-75) 71.6 million
Gen X (ages 41-56) 65.2 million
Gen Y (Millennials) (ages 25-40) 72.1 million
Gen Z (ages 9-24) 68 million
Gen A (ages 1-8) 48 million
Who are these people?
Millennials have their own set of characteristics and behaviors that sets them apart from previous generations. Demographic researchers have spent significant time interviewing this population to deconstruct norms, behaviors and trends. Among the most fascinating of the findings indicates that Gen Y isn't driven by money or status. They don't mind hard work, so long as it's achieving an idealistic aim. They're more environmentally conscious, with a strong focus on sustainability and climate change. As one would expect, they're digitally savvy, paralleled by the progress of the smartphone. All these factors, cumulatively, have breeded a strong gravitation towards collaboration and teamwork. Millennials still attract a fair share of criticism – most of which centers on the perception that they're lazy, entitled and self-absorbed. But to be fair, these labels – and others like them – have been assigned to many generations before them. It's seemingly a rite of passage.
A bright and shining future
When franchise seekers from Generation X and Y are combined, it's easy to understand why industry experts are optimistic about the future of franchising. They're right in the wheelhouse of their prime business ownership years, which has been boosted by external factors like the pandemic-related Great Resignation. Tens of millions of employees have spent the last two years evaluating their circumstances and a large percentage of them decided that they want something different. While many wanted out of their jobs for a similar high-paying equivalent, a larger number of workers headed straight for an offramp exit out of corporate America. Those aged 25-56 now make up the largest segment of candidates in the market for business ownership through franchising.
The career model we've all come to know so well is undergoing rapid changes. If the future of work caters to flexible scheduling, remote work and a higher degree of connectivity, franchising will continue to be an attractive option. And a receptive generation appears poised to capitalize on its popularity as an alternative to climbing the corporate ladder.