Food vans, coffee shops and Mexican food outlets are among the most popular small businesses people are on the hunt for, according to data released by online business listing site Seek this week.
More than 260,000 small businesses are visiting Seek’s commercial website each month, with the latest data recording a 32% year-on-year increase in businesses for sale listings, adding to growing evidence of the swelling number of businesses for sale.
The data also reveals what small businesses people, presumably potential buyers, are searching for, with Seek analysis showing searches for hospitality businesses such as Mexican eateries, healthy food options, and mobile and van franchises are the most popular.
Coffee, cafes and restaurants is the most searched for category of small businesses, accounting for 24% of all category searches. This compares to 18% just over a year ago.
Seek Commercial product manager Ana Rowe said hospitality and services industries, especially coffee shops, have always been popular among buyers.
“Food is also a very strong performer, both in terms of demand and number of businesses for sale,” Rowe said.
“Mexican food is still hugely popular, while there are also new healthy food options coming into the mix as the national health craze continues. However, trends can change within the sector quickly.”
Manufacturing, wholesale and distribution is the second most searched category according to the data, accounting for 13% of all category searches during the survey period.
Businesses in this category are varied and can include owning the licence to distribute produce such as meat or poultry, through to distributing leisure products such as kayaks.
Seasonal spikes are a factor for small business interested in using the site for sales and purchases, Rowe said.
“We see the most traffic and activity on our site between January and March, while October and November are also very strong,” she said.
David Bird, chairman of BizExchange, told SmartCompany this afternoon the data reflects growing interest in individuals wanting to buy a small business but he questions some of the Seek’s figures surrounding supply and demand.
“Some people say there’s more sellers than buyers,” he says.
“There’s about 30,000 at any given moment in time.”
Bird says hospitality likely earned its top spot because of the high turnover of small business owners, who often worked long hours.
“A lot of people go into them not appreciating what’s involved,” he says.
“It burns people out.”
But Bird says the food sector overall is thriving.
“The food sector is a hot sector right now,” he says.
“There is certainly a health kick, having healthier food, and that will probably increase.”
Specialised tea businesses are another trend to look out for, Bird says.
“Coffee shops are profitable when simple,” he says.
“I think coffee might have just about reached its peak.”
Bird says there is also “quite a transition” towards buying businesses that provide leisure services and personal services, such as laundry services, as well as digital businesses.
Baby boomers are driving some of the interest in small business ownership, Bird says.
“People are buying themselves a job; retiring from executive roles and want to be their own boss,” he says.