Baby Boomers Rule the Market for Buying or Selling a Business

Across North America, baby boomers have been known as both money makers and spenders. And more of them are now “making or spending” by selling or buying a business.

The evidence comes from the Q1 Market Pulse survey done with business brokers across North America by Pepperdine University for the IBBA and M&A Source. Business brokers reported that in the first quarter of 2014, 65% of their new sellers and 41% of their buyers were baby boomers.


The baby boomer generation covers quite an age range. Born between 1946 and 1064, the oldest are now 68 and the youngest, 50.

In the market for buying or selling a business, the older boomers are selling and the younger boomers are buying.

It’s a trend that I see repeated across our offices. Most buyers I’m dealing with right now are in their early 50s to age 55. This represents some 40 to 50% of buyers. None of them are past 60. The others are mostly in their 30s and 40s.That’s why we say baby boomers rule the market for buying or selling a business!

There is one area where we deviate from the Market Pulse numbers: some 85% to 90% of the individuals who contact us have never owned a business. That percentage is almost double the 47% that Market Pulse reports as first-time buyers. How do I explain that?

Most respondents to the Market Pulse survey operate in the U.S. and some aspects of their market are different than ours. An example: they refer to “main street businesses” while we talk about “small businesses.” Whatever we call it, both terms represent the same market—businesses that are valued from $0 up to $2 million.

And that market is heating up in Canada as well as the U.S. All of our offices report more buyer engagements.

Are you a younger baby boomer considering the purchase of a business as a second career? Check out our post: Tips for Baby Boom Buyers.

And if you’re an older baby boomer thinking of selling within the next few years, get our top 10 ten tips to sell your business and not leave money on the table.

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Gregory Kells
Greg Kells is the Founder and President of Sunbelt Canada, the number one business brokerage in the country. He has directly facilitated the sale of over 1,000 businesses and is a two-time winner of Businessperson of the Year in Ottawa. Greg is passionate about mentoring and teaching, with experience as a guest lecturer at Harvard, Yale, Duke, and various colleges across Canada. He is active in numerous community organizations and advocates for economic empowerment, the environment, science, and technology.
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