Australia has more franchising outlets per capita than any other country except New Zealand, but close to 90% of franchises are Australian developed. U.S. brands (not individual units) represent between three and five percent of the market.
Australia has over 1,100 franchisors, 65,000 franchise units, and 8,000 company-owned units in Australia. The franchise sector has been flourishing since the 1970s with most growth occurring since the 1980s and industry commentators note that it is now very mature. The growth of new Australian systems and the expansion of existing systems have not only increased competition but have meant the pool of quality franchisees has steadily become smaller. Within this climate, identifying investors and potential partners with an interest in master franchise opportunities remains a major challenge. Many recent market entry successes have resulted from Australian entrepreneurs actively searching out the opportunity and directly approaching the international franchisor.
Sectors as diverse as home building, carpet cleaning, repair systems, waste management, and financial planning have enjoyed growth in the recent past. The most popular opportunities for franchising in Australia are in the non-food retail industry, which accounts for over 25% of franchise systems. In 2022, food retail concepts that promote health and well-being continue to do well. Opportunities also exist within administration and support services.
The Australian market is receptive to new concepts that speak to current and emerging trends. For example, Australia has an aging population and demand for senior care services will continue to increase. It is also anticipated that older Australian generations will have an increased preference for independent living arrangements supported by community care and more affluent lifestyles.
Additionally, data shows a rise in participation rates in non-competitive activities. With fewer organized sports and less time for leisure activities, the 24-hour gym concept and personal trainers also became popular in recent years.
Australian-developed brands dominate the market. The United States is a key international player, followed by the United Kingdom, and more generally Europe.
Australian franchisors regularly use one or both of the top lead generation online platforms – Seek Business and Octomedia. These platforms are used extensively by local franchisors to find unit franchisees. In terms of finding master franchisees, one option for U.S. franchisors is to approach existing large Australian franchisors that have achieved saturation of their own brands in the market.
Rather than appointing master franchisees, some U.S. companies have also entered the market through acquisitions and/or by setting up their own corporately-owned unit(s) as a way of establishing proof of concept.
The Franchise Council of Australia (FCA) is a leading industry (trade) association and works closely with local and international franchises alike to help them make progress. More details on the FCA can be found at https://www.franchise.org.au/.
Besides the National Franchise Convention, organized by the FCA, there is the Franchise & Business Opportunities Expo series. The Expo is held annually in four key cities – Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, and Melbourne. More details on the Expo can be found https://www.franchisingexpo.com.au/.