How has the Pandemic Changed the Age Distribution of Franchisee Prospects?

Entrepreneurs step forward at all ages, but the most common age may be older than you think. Analysis of January through April 2021 demographics of prospective franchise owners shows the most popular ages for exploring business ownership range from the mid-30s to mid-50s, peaking at age 51 thus far in 2021.

Generation X makes up the largest group of franchise prospects, with the 41- to 56-year-olds comprising 47.8% of prospects in 2021 year-to-date April, up from 47.5% in the same period in 2020.

This age distribution is supported by academic studies, as reported back in September 2020. But comparing the same time period in 2020 and 2021, there has been a shift across the spectrum, with younger ages showing slightly lower percentages and higher ages showing slightly higher percentages of total prospects as can be seen in the chart below. The shaded curve at the bottom shows the percentage difference in each age between the two years, roughly spanning the pandemic — note more negative differences up to age 51, and positive differences thereafter.

While there is no indication of causality, one can hypothesize that access to more capital among older would-be entrepreneurs may be a factor. April 2021 unemployment rates between young and old are similar, with  25-54 year olds at 5.5% vs. 5% for the 55+ age range according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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