Are family firms different from nonfamily firms? The table below compares the size, growth, risk, return, and age for the two types of firms in 2019.
Panel A shows that family firms are relatively small. The average nonfamily firm is about 7 times larger than the average family firm in terms of sales (181 vs. 24.6 million kr.), about 18 times larger in terms of assets (496.9 vs. 27.6 million kr.), and about 4 times larger in terms of employees (37 vs. 9.6).
The table also reflects the skewed size distribution of family firms. Large family firms are about as large as the average nonfamily firm, whereas sole entrepreneurships (owner-manager firms) are the smallest of all firms.
Panel B shows that the small size of sole entrepreneurships is partly explained by their very young age. The large family firms, on the other hand, are significantly older than the average firm.
Panel C shows that the average family firm has somewhat lower sales growth and asset growth than the average nonfamily firm. Growth rates are also highly skewed, as reflected by the large difference between mean and median growth rates.
Panel D shows that family firms are more profitable on average compared with nonfamily firms (3.1% vs. 1.6% when measured by the mean after-tax return on assets, and 6.3% vs. 5.5% when measured by the median after-tax return on assets). This higher profitability of family firms is a common finding in research and its causes is an an active topic of debate. The risk of family firms is slightly higher than that of nonfamily firms, here measured as the coefficient of variation of three-year sales.
More basic facts about Norwegian family firms are available here and here.