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Ask the Experts: 2020 trends in franchising

By Lori Karpman

Q: What are the most promising industries and opportunities for 2020?

Lori says: There are several industries that will see tremendous growth in the next five years.

Beauty/Grooming Services

Pampering is in style for both sexes and there are a bevy of franchised concepts catering to the grooming-conscious consumer. Nail care, brow waxing, and eyelash extensions are just a few of the latest players in the women’s industry. Men’s self-maintenance is resurging and concepts like Tommy Gun’s Original Barbershop are hot right now. Men are becoming the most look-conscious group of consumers for 2020.


Food service will see increased popularity in the coming years. Expect to see a rise in the number of unique and culturally distinctive options—a concept which has already seen a steady growth for the past few years. ‘Ethnic fast casual’ is an entirely new category, bringing exotic new flavours traditionally only found in mom and pop restaurants. Just be wary of concepts that are really ‘fads’ and are not here to stay. An example includes a franchise which focuses on doughnut holes.


Franchises that entertain kids and adults have been on the rise for the past few years. Recreation-style franchises such as trampoline parks, ceramic painting studios, and escape rooms continue to grow. The newest trend is do-it-yourself (DIY) studios, where consumers can create a variety of craft projects.

Educational products and services

This category saw a 91 per cent growth in franchise listings in a five-year period. Education-focused franchises traditionally refer to children-focused programs such as computer science, mathematics, and English. However, learning for adults and seniors is seeing huge growth, especially in the arts and computing fields. Seasons Art Class is an example of an education franchise specifically geared towards older adults.


Fitness is one of the biggest industries in the world of franchising. It continues to grow exponentially with no signs of slowing down. There are a variety of options from traditional gym settings to boutique studios. Further, there are a growing number of sports and fitness concepts directed at children.


Approximately 68 per cent of households own a pet of some kind, so it is no wonder pet care services and products franchises are on the rise. After all, pet owners are known to spend a fair amount of their discretionary income on their fur babies.

Home-based franchises

Home-based businesses have risen exponentially. Canadians are drawn to businesses that provide the ability to work from home and operate their business in comfort. These trades generally have a lower required investment due to the reduction in overhead costs such as rent and common area expenses. Additionally, flexible schedules cater to parents and allow them to achieve a better balance.


Smartphones and other electronic devices—including vapes and accessories—have become very popular business opportunities.  Franchises capitalize on this trend by offering repair services, resales, accessories, and any other products that keep people connected.


The legalization of cannabis in Canada brought forth the creation of an entirely new franchise category. Many provinces now allow the sale of recreational marijuana at retail outlets, which creates an increase in cannabis service and product opportunities. Early adopters will do well in this industry before the market saturates.

In general, franchisees in 2020 are looking for alternatives to traditional mall locations to reduce overhead costs.  Brands now offer options such as kiosks, pop-up shops, and smaller real estate footprints. Franchisors are putting a strong focus on generating profitability at the store level via a reduction in operating costs.

Franchising is experiencing a growth period and the advent of unique franchise opportunities abound. There is truly something for everyone.

Lori Karpman is the CEO of the multi-award-winning Lori Karpman & Company. Lori has more than 25 years of experience in the franchise industry.

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3 comments on “Ask the Experts: 2020 trends in franchising”

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