Five-Year View of the Changes in State Shares of Franchise Prospect Interest Through Franchise Lead Flow

By: Michael Alston for Franchise Insights

May 17, 2023 – The southward and westward migration of franchise interest during the first few years of the pandemic partially reversed in the last twelve months, as interest in franchises moved northward and eastward.  How does that fit into the longer-term geographic trend?

The top ten states by share of franchise prospects declined from 2018 (59.53%) to 2022 (57.78%), and then grew in 2023 to a multi-year high at 60.15%. By looking at January through March franchise lead flow data from 2018, 2020 2022, and 2023 as seen in the chart above, Texas took the largest share among the states with greatest interest in 2020 with 10.62% of total inquiries as the first shock of the pandemic suppressed prospect interest in March 2020. Texas then declined to third place by 2023, as Florida ascended to 11.07% of all prospects, just under California at 11.27%.

The longer term trend shows coincident dips in share for New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, along with California, as the pandemic began to unfold in early 2020. Further, the states growing the most among the top ten – North Carolina, Georgia and Illinois – began growing as the pandemic approached, and Illinois grew across the period, even though its share of total prospects in 2023 (3.28%) was lower than 2020 (3.47%).

Note that the state locations shown are where prospects were researching the purchase of franchises, which in most cases would be the prospect’s current state location. The data do not measure movement from one state to another, though that is certainly a significant factor.

The chart below shows net changes in share across the five-year period for the ten states with the largest increases in share among all states and the District of Columbia. Here you can see the trend towards growth in Southern and Midwestern states that continued during the pandemic.

On the other hand, the states losing the most share 2018-2023 included some of the most populous states (CA, NY, NJ, PA) and some in the west (WA, CO). 

As mentioned in the previous article, the overall trends in location of interest support the theory that having experienced remote work and more flexible working conditions brought about by the pandemic, workers have sought to move to warmer and less-populous states. In some cases the pandemic seems to have accelerated longer-term trends that already existed (southward migration, particularly from the Northeast), but in the most recent twelve months ending March 2023, those trends reversed, with some of the largest growers in the prior period now showing a lower share of interest.

This proprietary data is drawn from the FranchiseVentures lead generation platform of franchise-investment inquiries in the United States.

FranchiseVentures is the leading franchise lead-generation platform for potential franchisees to thousands of growing franchise systems in the United States and Canada. Its franchise lead generation brands include, Franchise Solutions, Franchise Gator, Franchise Opportunities, Franchise For Sale, and, and together they provide the largest aggregation of prospective franchise buyers in the U.S.

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Published on Tuesday, May 16th, 2023.

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