Franchising: The Younger Generation Steps Up

Millennials portend a bright future for the industry.

learn more about Jeff Cheatham

By Jeff Cheatham • Apr 26, 2022

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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.

Related: The Entrepreneurial Spirit of Millennials

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

Related: Why Millennials Make Great Franchisees -- And How to Recruit Them

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.

Related: Millennials Aren't Always About the Digital Experience. That's Good News for Your Marketing Department.

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.

Related: The Millennial Takeover: How the Generation is Shaking up the Workplace

Jeff Cheatham

Founder and CEO of Creative Content

Jeff Cheatham is the founder and CEO of Creative Content, a full-service copywriting and public relations firm. He's based in Dallas and works with multiple B2B clients and over a dozen franchise brands to develop proprietary content campaigns for lead generation and sales development programs.


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