Patagonia is a manufacturer and wholesaler of clothing and footwear for outdoor activities. The company, now headquartered in Ventura, California, was founded in 1974 by Yvon Chouinard.
What sets Patagonia apart from other brands in the industry is its almost maniacal commitment to sustainable practices. For example, she runs her own resale center where she refurbishes and sells used clothing.
The company even published advertisementscampaignsduring which she appealed to consumers to take a break from shopping on Black Friday. Additionally, Patagonia donates one percent of its profits to non-profit environmental organizations. To date, she has donated over $140 million to worthy causes.
And because Patagonia remains privately owned, it can avoid compromising profits and instead focus on maximizing its environmental and social impact.
So far, this strategy hasn't turned out to be too bad. According to various estimates, the company generates around $1 billion in annual revenue. More than 2,000 employees are responsible for managing the company's 70 business locations worldwide.
Omethodologyranking of Patagonia's competitors is based on a number of factors. We take into account data such as revenue generated, products sold, number of employees, valuation and everything else that is relevant.
This analysis shouldNObe seen as a purchase recommendation. This is just a summary of all the competition Patagonia currently faces. To ensure comparability, we only looked at competitors known primarily for the production of outdoor apparel.
Without further ado, let's take a closer look.top 12 playersThe Patagonians.
1. Columbia Sportswear
Headquarters:Portland, Oregon, United StatesFounder(s):Paula LamfromaFounded in:1938
colombia sportswearis one of the leading brands in the outdoor sports industry. They still remain at the top in terms of sales and revenue.
Columbia started out selling hats, but soon expanded into other apparel. Today, they sell over 5,000 different styles to customers around the world.
Continued development allowed it to go public in 1998, raising approximately $100 million in the process. Its value is currently estimated at nearly $6 billion.
In fiscal 2021, Columbia Sportswear generated revenue of $3.1 billion, up 25% year-over-year. Profits jumped 445% to $450.5 million. Profitability allowed the company to employ more than 10,000 people.
However, it should be noted that the revenue and earnings numbers above also include other brands that Columbia owns, such as Sorel, prAna, and Mountain Hardwear.
2. North wall
Headquarters:Alameda, California, United StatesFounder(s):Douglasa Tompkins is Susie Tompkins BuellFounded in:1968
north face, founded by husband and wife Douglas and Susie Tompkins (who also later founded the fashion brand Esprit), is behind some of the most iconic designs in the billboard industry.
More importantly, both the Base Camp bag and the Mountain Jacket are often used by professional mountaineers to climb the most demanding mountains in the world (the company takes its name from the north side of the mountain, which is often the coldest and most difficult route to climb).
The Tompkins sold the company as early as 1970 to businessman Kenneth "Hap" Klopp. In 2000, VF Corporation paid $25.4 million to acquire the company it still owns today (along with brands like Dickies, Eastpak, Supreme, Timberland and Vans).
In fiscal 2021, The North Face generated revenue of $2.5 billion. It has over 200 stores worldwide and employs around 3,500 people.
Accidental note: Douglas Tompkins sadly (and somewhat ironically) passed away in 2015 while kayaking in Patagonia, Chile.
3. Canada Goose
Headquarters:Toronto, Ontario, CanadaFounder(s):Tika himselfFounded in:1957
canadian goosestarted out as Metro Sportswear, a brand aimed at workers in Canada.
Their now-famous jackets have also been part of impressive outings, like when they were worn at McMurdo Station in Antarctica or when Laurie Skreslet became the first Canadian to climb Mount Everest.
Canada Goose is a premium outerwear brand aimed at affluent consumers looking for high quality clothing. Despite this, it managed to become one of the best sellers in the outdoor industry.
In 2013, Bain Capital acquired a majority stake in the company, which went public in March 2017, raising $250 million.
In fiscal 2021, Canada Goose generated revenue of $903.7 million, a slight decrease from $958.1 million a year earlier. Currently, its value is estimated at around 2.5 billion dollars. Canada Goose operates just 20 retail stores but employs more than 1,500 people.
Headquarters:Épagny-Metz-Tessy, FranceFounder(s):Jorge SalomãoFounded in:1947
Salomon gained fame producing and selling ski covers. By the mid-1970s, it had become the world's leading frame brand.
Eventually, the company expanded into alpine boots and other types of outdoor gear. The first clothing line was launched in 2001 and officially marked the beginning of Salomon's transformation into a fashion company.
Salomon was bought by Adidas in 1997 and then sold to Amer Sports, which also owns Arc'teryx, Atomic, Wilson and other brands, for €485 million in 2005. Adidas ditched its ski equipment and apparel lines, selling to Solomon.
The company currently employs around 3,000 people and has 190 sales outlets worldwide. Unfortunately, Amer Sports was delisted in late 2018 after being sold to Anta Sports, meaning it no longer reports revenue. As a result, Salomon's revenue and profit figures are currently unavailable.
5. Wolfskin Jack
Headquarters:Idstein, Hesse, GermanyFounder(s):Ulrich DausienFounded in:1981
Another of the leading outdoor brands outside of North America is the German brand Jack Wolfskin.
For the first 12 years of its existence, Jack Wolfskin only supplied other specialty stores. In 1993, she opened her first store.
The company has changed hands many times. Recently, Callaway Golf Company acquired Jack Wolfskin for €418 million in November 2018.
In fiscal 2021, Callaway, which also has its own golf-focused eponymous brand and owns other brands such as Odyssey, generated approximately $3.1 billion in revenue. Of that amount, $817 million can be attributed to the “Apparel, Equipment & More” segment, which includes Jack Wolfskin, TravisMathew and Callaway Brand Parts.
What's more, Jack Wolfskin employs over 1,400 people who work primarily across the European region where its brand is strongest. He also manages around 500 retail stores.
Headquarters:Freeport, Maine, United StatesFounder(s):Leon bean LeonwoodFounded in:1912
After founder Leon Leonwood Bean returned from hunting with cold, clammy feet, he had the idea for a shoe that combined a leather upper with a rubber bottom. Ironically, the first 90 of the 100 pairs were returned by customers when the rubber bottoms separated from the leather tops.
Fortunately, the founder and company prevailed and over the years were responsible for several iconic product designs such as the Zipper Duffle and the Norwegian Sweater. The company, despite Bean's death in 1967, remains family-owned to this day.
For the 2020 financial yearLLBeanreported sales of $1.59 billion, up 5% year-over-year. LL Bean operates 54 stores in 19 US states and 25 stores in Japan. It also employs more than 4,600 people.
Headquarters:Vancouver, British Columbia, CanadaFounder(s):Jeremy's Guardian of Dave's LaneFounded in:1989
Another Amer Sports property is Arc'teryx, named afterArcheopteryx Lithographic, the first reptile to develop feathers for flying (i.e. the first bird).
Arc'teryx started out selling Gore-Tex jackets to aspiring climbers and mountaineers, but now offers a wide range of outdoor gear.
Arc'teryx was sold to Salomon in 2001 and changed hands twice more following the purchases of Amer Sports and Anta Sports.
The company currently has 75 stores around the world, employs more than 1,500 people, but to this day, unfortunately, it does not disclose the amount of revenue.
Headquarters:Kent, Washington, United StatesFounder(s):Lloyda Andersona, Mary AndersonFounded in:1938
REI, short for Recreational Equipment, Inc., is a cooperative formed after the Andersons imported the Akadem Pickel ax from Austria to take a basic mountaineering course. They then created a cooperative to help other outdoor enthusiasts acquire high-quality equipment.
The Andersons were able to recruit 21 friends, each paying $1 for a lifetime membership. The co-op has now grown to 20 million lifetime members, approximately 15,000 employees and 168 outlets, primarily in the United States.
In addition to offering other brands such as The North Face or Patagonia, the company has also developed its own clothing line calledREI cooperative. Having one, if not the largest, online outdoor store allows REI to promote its own products.
Headquarters:Park City, Utah, USAFounder(s):Jim Holland, John BreseeFounded in:1996
Backcountry.com is a leading online retailer of outdoor gear, which also includes its own clothing line and other brands.
The company's ownership has changed several times, the last time being the sale of TSG Consumer Partners in July 2015. The company's sale price has not been disclosed.
Around seven million people visit their website every month. Additionally, Backcountry operates four retail stores and employs just over 1,000 people.
10. Helly Hansen
Headquarters:Oslo, NorwayFounder(s):Helly Juell HansenFounded in:1877
Certainly the oldest company on this list, Helly Hansen has been designing and producing clothing for nearly a century and a half.
Sea captain Helly Juell Hansen and his wife Maren Margrethe started out selling work clothes for long days at sea.
Helly Hansen currently generates $400 million in annual revenue and employs over 1,000 people. The company's ownership has changed many times during its existence. More recently, in May 2018, it was acquired by Canadian Tire Corp. for CAD 985 million.
Headquarters:Rohnert Park, California, United StatesFounder(s):David Huntley, Eric Reynolds e Locke MillerFounded in:1971
Marmot was founded by UC students. Santa Cruz, who founded the Marmot Club, a social club for climbers.
The founders started out making parkas and sleeping bags in dorm rooms, but soon expanded into other outdoor apparel. In 1976, they became the first outdoor clothing company to use Gore-Tex.
In 2016, Marmot became part of Newell Brands, which acquired Marmot's parent company Jarden Corporation in 2016 for $16 billion.
Newell generated $10.6 billion in revenue in fiscal 2021, but he did not disclose how much of that is attributable to Marmot. The company currently employs around 200 people and operates three retail stores.
Headquarters:Salt Lake City, Utah, United StatesFounder(s):Kevin BoyleFounded in:1983
KÜHL, a company originally called "Alfwear", is one of the few on this list that has managed to remain independent throughout its existence.
The company started out selling ski hats, but in less than a decade it began to expand into other categories like jackets.
With more than 200 employees, KÜHL works with thousands of retail stores that sell its products. In addition to retail partners, KÜHL also sells its clothing online through its own website. Unfortunately, revenue figures are not released by the company or third parties.
In addition to the aforementioned brands, there are hundreds of other companies competing for consumer attention in the outdoor clothing market.
There are many outdoor products that just don't work. These include brands like YETI, Fjällräven, Outdoor Research and others.
Adidas, Nike and Under Armor are great for sportswear, but they may not be known for their outdoor style. Adidas has a large selection of outdoor clothing, which includes, for example, footwear and other equipment.
Additionally, direct-to-consumer brands such as Cotopaxi have managed to raise tens of millions of dollars in venture funding to disrupt the market. Often, these companies only sell online, which allows them to improve their margins.
Finally, there are also many companies that focus on selling only one product (but they do it perfectly). For example, Forsake specializes in hiking boots and Osprey is famous for its durable bags.
Patagonia's Competitive Advantage
Patagonia's biggest competitive advantage is the strength of the brand and the goodwill of its customers, which the company has managed to develop over time.
Today, the company is known for its sustainable practices, sustainable product lines, and positive environmental and social impact.
This is best seen in the example of the companycore values, which aim to “build the best product”, “do no unnecessary harm” and “use business to protect nature”.
Despite donating one percent of its profits to worthy causes, its founder and management team managed to build a very successful company.
One of the biggest indicators of the strength of the Patagonia brand is its ability to charge above average prices for its products. However, they often last for a long time, which certainly affects the customer's purchase decision.