Which Business Categories Will Grow Most in 2021?

Coming Boom in Travel, Personal Care, and Restaurants

Dec. 16, 2020 – Making a range of assumptions about recovery to interest levels prior to the pandemic, inquiries to Personal Care and Travel and Lodging franchises are likely to grow geometrically in 2021.  Per the chart above, future owner interest in Travel and Lodging franchises and business startups would have to grow by 318% to return to the pre-pandemic mean of monthly category percentage interest in 2019’s investment inquiries, or 214% if the category only reaches 75% of its monthly average in 2019.

Similarly, interest in Personal Care franchise and business startups will grow 181% or 111% to reach the 2019 monthly average, based on a return to 100% and 75% of pre-pandemic “normal.”. The Food & Restaurant category would show the third highest growth in interest at 71% and 28%, respectively. 

The likely fastest growers in 2021 using this approach are those that fell most in buyer interest during the pandemic. The imposition by states of restrictions on certain categories of businesses (personal care, food and restaurants) as well as government restrictions on travel explain these drops. Correspondingly, the removal of restrictions and safety measures in these industries — along with vaccines and consumer confidence — will propel a resurgence in interest in 2021.

Buoyed by positive vaccine news and easing uncertainty post-election, the most recent Startup Sentiment Index™ survey showed 19.7% of respondents expected to start a business 4-6 months out, expressing the likelihood of a boomlet in new business startups by June 2021. The survey was taken just after Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna vaccine availability and effectiveness was reported. Over 48% of  respondents believe that in three months, business conditions will be “better” or “much better” than now. Download the full November 2020 Small Business Startup Sentiment Index™ report.

The Small Business Startup Sentiment Index™ is derived from a monthly survey of individuals who have recently inquired about businesses or franchises for sale on the digital assets of FranchiseVentures, and measures business-buyer sentiment on more than a dozen factors.


Projected growth of selected Franchise categories

2021 projections based on growth from Nov. 2020


Category 2019 average
monthly share of
franchise inquiries
Growth in 2021,
assuming reversion
to 75% of 2019 mean
Growth in 2021,
assuming reversion
to 100% of 2019 mean
Travel & Lodging 3.6% 213.7% 318.3%
Personal Care 2.8% 110.6% 180.7%
Food & Restaurant 18.7% 28.5% 71.3%
Child-related 5.1% 16.0% 54.7%
Sports and Recreation 0.7% 4.4% 39.2%
Education 2.4% -6.3% 25.0%
Pet Services 2.1% -8.5% 22.0%


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Published on Wednesday, December 16th, 2020.

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