Younger, More Diverse Buyers Look to Acquire Retiring Baby Boomer Businesses

In the first of a series of articles investigating who’s buying and selling small businesses in America, BizBuySell sees growth among young minorities, women as small business buyers.

Driven in large part by an increase in the number of buyers and sellers on the market, the small business transaction market grew substantially in 2013, ending the year with small business sales up 49% over 2012 transaction volumes.
But just who are these new buyers and sellers? commissioned a deeper look into the pool of prospective buyers and sellers to learn more about the individuals who are buying and selling in today’s small business market. The study, which surveyed more than 2,000 buyers and sellers, uncovered several interesting market trends, particularly with respect to the racial identities and ages of buyers and sellers.

More Minorities, Women As Young Buyers

One of the most interesting findings from the study is that a new group of younger and more diverse small business buyers has entered the business-for-sale market.

The study found that young buyers tend to be much more racially diverse than older buyers. Among buyers 65 and older, 87 percent identified as Caucasian—a number that declined significantly as the age of buyers decreased. Caucasians represented 78 percent of the 50-64 year olds, 66 percent of 30-49 year olds and just 48 percent of 18-29 year olds interested in buying a business.

Business Buyers and Sellers Survey: Demographic of Buyers by Age

While Caucasian business buyers are less prominent in the younger age categories, the number of Hispanic, African-American and Asian/Pacific Islander buyers increased dramatically in lower age brackets. There were 7.5 times more Hispanic buyers between the ages of 18-29 than over 65, and younger African-American buyers outpaced older buyers by a multiple of 6. Among Asian/Pacific Islanders, only 4 percent of buyers were over 65 while 19 percent fell into 18-29 age bracket.


In addition to the increased diversity among young buyers, the study revealed a bump in the number of women who are interested in business ownership. Although the business-for-sale market is still a male dominated world with men comprising 81 percent of all buyers, more young women appear interested in purchasing a small business. While women represented just 9 percent of buyers over 65 years old, buying activity for female buyers was much higher in younger age brackets:  19 percent of 50-64 year olds, 20 percent of 30-49 year olds and 23 percent of 18-29 year olds.

Older Sellers Ready to Exit Business Sooner
Not surprisingly, sellers were found to be a bit older than buyers, since many sellers are exiting their companies for retirement. Nearly 16 percent of sellers listed themselves as 65 and older compared to just 7 percent of buyers.
The recession delayed retirement plans for many business owners. It appears those owners are now feeling more confident about the market and are ready to sell. In fact, rather than hold on to their businesses any longer, 97% of owners 65 and older indicated that they plan on selling in the next 5 years. When asked for an expected timeline, 57 percent of respondents over 65 expected to exit their business within 6 months and 81% intend to sell within a year.

Interestingly, 76 percent of the older business owners who intend to sell noted that they plan on retiring after the sale. Eleven percent said they would focus on another business venture. In contrast, responses from younger sellers suggest they are much more likely to either reinvest sale proceeds into another venture or simply take the money and find a full-time job. Fifty-six percent of 18-29 year olds and 58 percent of 30 to 49 year olds planned on redirecting their efforts toward another venture. Another 22 percent of 18-29 year olds and 15 percent of 30-49 year olds said sale proceeds would be used to purchase another small business. Finally, 11 percent and 14 percent, respectively for the two younger age groups, say they would return to full-time employment.

About BizBuySell

BizBuySell is the Internet’s largest business for sale marketplace. Since 1996, BizBuySell has offered tools that make it easy for business owners and brokers to sell a business, and potential buyers to find the business of their dreams. BizBuySell currently has an inventory of approximately 45,000 businesses – spanning 80 countries – for sale at any one time and receives more than 1 million monthly visits. The site also features an extensive franchise directory as well as an easy-to-use business valuation tool. Please visit for more information.

BizBuySell was founded in 1996 and in 2012 became a division of CoStar Group, Inc. (NASDAQ – CSGP) – commercial real estate’s leading provider of information and analytic services. CoStar conducts expansive, ongoing research to produce and maintain the largest and most comprehensive database of commercial real estate information and offers a suite of online services enabling clients to analyze, interpret and gain unmatched insight on commercial property values, market conditions and current availabilities. For more information, visit

Image courtesy of Photokanok /

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.