Over the next two decades, experts say that the U.S. can expect a record wave of businesses for sale. According to some, the size of this wave is so great that it can be more accurately described as a tsunami. And the cause of this wave? America’s retiring generation of Baby Boomer business owners.
Baby Boomers already make up an outsized portion of the U.S. population. As a result, America is expected to see a record-setting generation of seniors as the Baby Boomers retire.
But for the number of Baby Boomers nationwide, this generation has an even larger presence among business owners. And as more Baby Boomer business owners opt for retirement, this will trigger an unprecedented number of businesses for sale.
Baby Boomers Make Up a Large Share of Business Owners
To understand the scope of the issue at hand, let’s quickly look at some data from the U.S. Census Bureau. According to data from 2018, there are now more than 70 million Baby Boomers in the U.S., more than 20% of the national population.
The share of Baby Boomers in the U.S. is a big reason why the average age of a U.S. resident is now 38.2 years old. That’s higher than any other time in the country’s history and a full ten years older than in the 1960s and 1970s.
These figures, however, don’t even start to tell the story when it comes to small business owners. One 2019 study found that 57% of small business owners in the U.S. are currently over the age of 50. Others have found that, even now, Baby Boomers start businesses at a higher rate than any other generation.
But nobody can run a business in perpetuity. As more and more Baby Boomers start to retire, we’ll see more and more of these businesses for sale.
In fact, figures released by the California Association of Business Brokers project that there will be more than 12 million Baby Boomer businesses for sale or bequeathed within the next two decades. The total value of these businesses? More than $10 trillion.
What Makes These Businesses for Sale Different
As we see more Baby Boomer businesses hit the market, it’s worth thinking about what makes this wave of businesses for sale unique.
Earlier this decade, before the Baby Boomer wave started, some experts worried that the glut of businesses for sale would result in an overabundance of supply, triggering a decrease in business values. But over the past few years, as the first Baby Boomers have reached retirement age, we’ve seen the expected increase in business listings. But there’s been no corresponding decrease in business values.
During this time, however, we’ve seen other distinct trends among this first set of sales.
In particular, many brokers have noted how Baby Boomer business sellers have put an increased emphasis on finding the right buyer. Many of these business owners are not simply trying to secure retirement incomes — they’re also trying to secure a strong future for their company.
As a result, they tend to be much more selective about who buys their business. What’s more, because they’re in less of a rush to sell, they can wait out unsatisfactory bids to find the right buyer. And when they’ve found the right buyer, they’re more willing to assist during the ownership transition. By lending a hand during the transition, they ensure their business is in the best possible position to succeed moving forward.
Find businesses for sale with help from Murphy Business Brokers! Call (888) 561-3243 today to connect with your local office and request a free consultation.