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Hottest Trends in Franchising

By: Bill Bradley


What are the hottest trends in franchising? Think of franchising as a funnel, and let’s look at the trends with the broadest application first and move down toward the narrowest trends.


Franchises are hot. They’re growing at a faster rate than independent start-ups, they’re supplying 10% of all new jobs created in the past six months, and some franchisees are themselves business moguls earning tens of millions of dollars with multi-unit franchise empires.

In some industries, franchises are the majority of all businesses. Among businesses in general, franchise business opportunities are as strong as or stronger then other types of companies. Franchising has matured, and franchise investors are reaping the benefits.

Big Ideas

Concerns beyond the needs of individual consumers are having effects on franchises. Science, creativity, and 21st century skills are big news in education and employment, and they’re big news in kids’ franchises as well.

Digital health is on the horizon for medicine and technology, and health and fitness franchises focusing on new technologies are springing up.

Customization is a major trend among consumers overall, and it’s showing up in franchises as well. From customized chocolates and serve-yourself yogurt bars to spa franchises with custom membership plans and retail franchises with customer-centric boutique business models, franchises are figuring out how to tap into the personalization trend.

Growth Segments

The hot franchise businesses now and going forward? Fitness, health, and nutrition franchises lead the pack, with green businesses coming up behind them. Partly this reflects an increased concern with ecology and health in our society.

It also reflects the concerns of Baby Boomers and Millennials. As Baby Boomers grow older, they are either more concerned with their health or more in need of additional health services—or both. They’re also more willing and able to pay for personal services.

Millennials are often more concerned about social and ecological responsibility on the part of businesses they trade with, and more willing to pay for higher levels of responsibility.

Niche Markets

Micro trends are popping up within franchise industries as well. Food trucks are the new darlings of quick service food. Another shooting star in the food space is the healthy vending machine, offering nutritious options at the push of a button.

“Boutique” is the latest word for fitness. While everything from classic big box gyms to all-automated fitness chains can get great results right now, chic little studios are on the rise.

Automation is popular in personal care franchises as well. Baby Boomers may like the pampering they get with personalized health and beauty services, but Millennials are flocking to lower priced, any-time spa services with automated options.

Mobile services are also increasingly popular. From drug testing to dog grooming, goods and services are heading out in vans and trucks to serve busy people. it makes sense—shoppers who can buy shoes from their bathrooms find it natural to have their needs met on their terms, in their preferred locations.

You don’t have to be trendy when you choose the franchise that’s best for you, but it’s good to be aware of the trends in franchising as you do your research.

This article was originally published by America’s Best Franchises

Published: August 25, 2014

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Bill Bradley

Bill Bradley is founding member and CEO of America’s Best Franchises, LLC.  Bill founded three financial services firms, Ocean Shores Ventures, Denali International and William Bradley Enterprises. In addition, to launching America’s Best Franchises in 2005, Bill orchestrated approximately 20 private equity transactions in excess of $31 million, and launched five specific purpose private equity partnerships.

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