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The Top Franchise Trends For 2010

Trends For 2010There are a couple of categories in franchising that will continue to gather steam in 2010, and for many years to come. There will also be some other interesting things going on in franchising in 2010, and they don’t involve the latest pizza craze, or the launch of a solar-powered pretzel stand.

Let’s start by talking about our country’s demographics. According to AARP International:

“In two years, the oldest of the baby boomers will start turning 65. The baby boomer bulge will continue padding the senior population year after year, growing to 1 in 5 U.S. residents by 2030.”

Millions of baby boomers are retiring every year, and medical advances will allow these folks to live longer, more productive lives. The franchise industry has been starting to capitalize on this trend, with franchise concepts being launched to allow these retired folks to enjoy themselves, longer. Here are a few examples;

Another trend that bears watching (and is focused on the exact same demographic) is the number of medical and non-medical care franchises that continue to target the senior market. I counted thirty different senior care franchise offerings that are currently being marketed to prospective franchise owners. Thirty! 2010 may be a year of consolidation in this industry, which provides much needed services to families in stressful situations. Comfort Keepers [3], HomeInstead [4], and HomeHelpers are pretty dominant players in the non-medical senior care area. Two of the the senior care franchises that specialize in at home medical care include Brightstar Healthcare, and Interim HealthCare [5].

The food sector continues to be popular with those looking to be their own bosses, and new concepts along with some re-tooled ones, are being launched all the time.

Other sectors that should prove popular in 2010 include;

2010 could be a pivotal year for the franchise industry as a whole. The availability of small business loans for start-up franchises has been very challenging, but should improve somewhat by the second half of the year. If new franchise unit sales remain slow, franchisors will really have to step-up their support of existing franchise owners, who pay the franchisors a percentage of their revenue in the form of royalty payments.

More and more franchisors will be using social media marketing techniques to get customers and clients in the door for their franchisees. Here are a couple of examples of what you’re going to see more of in 2010;

  1. Pizza Hu [15]t offers 20% off if you order their pizza with your iPhone, using their special iPhone application, which you’ll find on their own Facebook page.
  2. A 60 year old brand like Dunkin’ Donuts certainly uses the many social media marketing outlets available to help them get their message out. One recent example had to do with California. Dunkin’ Donuts is a large franchise operation, but they don’t have a very large footprint out West. What they do have however, is a Facebook Fan Page [16] with over 980,000 “fans,” and a Twitter account [17]with over 39,000 followers. They keep their fans and followers in the loop, and fans and followers will be the first ones to know when this donut chain moves into California with a vengeance.
  3. eMed-ID provides individuals and families with a personal computer storage device uploaded with their complete personal health record including medications, allergies, blood type and special conditions, so that in case of emergency, health professionals on the scene can view the patients information fast. This young franchisor is using social media marketing to get the word out about their franchise opportunity. Check out their powerful Facebook Fan Page. You’ll see what I mean.

Social media marketing techniques will be used by more franchisors in 2010, than in 2008 and 2009, combined. Franchise company executives are starting to realize that today’s consumer doesn’t want to be “sold” anymore. Consumers are using technology to seek out the things that they are interested in.

The folks at Razorfish [18], a marketing and design company said that:

For brands to remain relevant in this environment, they will need to adapt to both emerging technologies and shifting consumer behavior without delay. Those who will succeed need to act more like publishers, entertainment companies or even party planners, than advertisers.”

Today’s franchise buyers have an unprecedented amount of information at their fingertips. (Their keyboards, actually) They expect fast answers to their questions. They want more transparency “fransparency” from the franchisor. They also want to be more in control of the franchise discovery process, and they won’t be rushed into making a buying decision.

Franchisors that choose to adapt to this rapidly changing “social” environment will be the ones that prosper in 2010.

If the banks start making  more commercial loans available for franchise start-up businesses, 2010 looks to be a good year for the franchise industry.

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Joel Libava on 2008 franchise trends About the Author: Joel Libava is President and Life Changer of Franchise Selection Specialists. He blogs at The Franchise King Blog [19].