IFA 2021 Franchising Outlook

The second half of the International Franchise Association’s (IFA) Annual Convention gets underway this week. Though all virtual this year, it’s still franchising’s biggest event for business development and personal growth. Nearly 200 educational and networking sessions are happening on the topics of franchise growth, policy, development, marketing, and of course—networking.

Last week, on Feb. 18, the IFA released its 2021 Economic Outlook Report, with detailed information about the franchising industry’s direction. Based on information gathered by FRANdata, a leading industry insights firm, the report is full of optimistic details of franchising’s predicted growth trend following last year’s pandemic.

Below is a list of condensed highlights, a link to the executive summary and full report, and helpful links to additional resources. Here’s what you need to know from the annual report:

The Wrath of COVID-19

Last year, employment for franchise operations shed 940,000 jobs and 7.5 million workers, representing an 11.2% decline. Even so, the franchise industry contributed over $650 billion in economic output in 2020, or 3% of the entire U.S. gross domestic product (GDP)

3 Key Factors

Like industries all across the board in the U.S., franchising anxiously awaits pending legislative action on COVID-19 relief. If vaccinations continue to reach the broadly predicted amount of the population and school re-openings can be successfully achieved, the franchising industry may have a lot to look forward to in 2021.

All Gas, No Brakes

If we can meet the three key factors above, the results could be remarkable. The report from FRANdata predicts that nearly all post-COVID related damage could be erased in 2021. Specifically, the analysis suggests that the franchising industry will recoup its losses with 26,000 new openings, nearly 800,000 jobs, and a contribution of $477 billion to the U.S. GDP. They peg the overall contribution’s growth at 7%, reaching pre-pandemic levels by the end of this year.

IFA President and CEO Richard Cresanti, on the report:

“This report highlights franchising’s tremendous potential to lead our country’s economic recovery. Through quick adaptability, scalable technology, and a focus on in-demand products and services, the franchise sector has shown its resilience time and again. In conjunction with smart policies out of Washington, franchises can help Americans get back to work.”

For Further Reading

For a look at the Executive Summary of the IFA’s 2021 Franchising Outlook, follow this link: 


For a look at the full report, follow this link:


Stay tuned for a look at all of the 2021 IFA Conventions’ educational and networking panels, becoming
available on-demand in May, 2021.

Feb 23, 2021