Canada Goose is a manufacturer and distributor of outdoor-related clothing, footwear, and related equipment.
The company, which is headquartered in Toronto, Canada, and began as Metro Sportswear, was founded in 1957 by Sam Tick.
Interestingly, Canada Goose initially produced and sold clothing to working-class customers but in the mid-1980s pivoted towards a more affluent demographic. Around the same time, its parka jackets would be frequently used for Antarctica expeditions and other extreme experiences.
After various ownership exchanges, Canada Goose would ultimately be sold to Bain Capital. The private equity investors acquired a 70 percent stake in the company at a valuation of $250 million. Four years later, Canada Goose went public on the New York Stock Exchange.
At the time, it was valued at around $1.2 billion. Today, that valuation has risen to $2.5 billion. This makes Canada Goose one of the only publicly-traded companies in the outdoor apparel space.
The sale to Bain Capital, furthermore, came with the understanding that Canada Goose would continue manufacturing all of its clothing in Canada. Despite its limited customer demographic, Canada Goose still managed to gross $903.7 million in revenue for 2021. Additionally, more than 1,500 people are employed by the company.
The methodology with which competitors of Canada Goose are ranked is based on a plethora of factors. We take data such as the revenue generated, products sold, number of employees, valuation, and anything else that’s relevant into account.
Canada Goose sells its products throughout more than 20 of its own retail locations, within partner stores, as well as online (both on its own website and other eCommerce stores). As such, we’ll consider any company that goes after the same markets that Canada Goose does.
This analysis should not be seen as a purchase recommendation. It is merely a summary of all the competition that Canada Goose faces right now. In order to ensure comparability, we only look at competitors that are primarily known for producing outdoor apparel targeted at both normal as well as affluent consumers.
So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the top 12 competitors of Canada Goose.
1. Columbia Sportswear
Headquarters: Portland, Oregon, United States Founder(s): Paul Lamfrom Year Founded: 1938
Columbia Sportswear is one of (if not) the leading apparel companies in the outdoor sports industry. It generates the most revenue and sales of any brand.
Columbia started out selling hats but soon expanded into other types of apparel. Today, they sell over 5,000 different styles to customers around the world.
Its continuous growth allowed it to go public in 1998, raising around $100 million in the process. It is now valued at close to $6 billion.
For the fiscal year 2021, Columbia Sportswear generated $3.1 billion in revenue, up 25 percent from the year prior. Profits rose by a whopping 445 percent to $450.5 million. Its profitability has allowed the company to employ over 10,000 people.
It has to be noted, though, that the above-mentioned revenue and profit numbers also entail the other brands Columbia owns such as Sorel, prAna, and Mountain Hardwear.
2. The North Face
Headquarters: Alameda, California, United States Founder(s): Douglas Tompkins, Susie Tompkins Buell Year Founded: 1968
The North Face, which was started by husband-and-wife duo Douglas and Susie Tompkins (who later also co-founded fashion brand Esprit), has been behind some of the most iconic designs in the outdoor industry.
Most notably, its Base Camp Duffle, as well as Mountain Jacket, are often used by professional mountaineers to climb the world’s most challenging mountains. This is also where The North Face got its name from as the northern side of a mountain is often the toughest one to climb, which the founders wanted to pay tribute to.
The original founders sold the company in 1970 to businessman Kenneth Klopp. In 2000, VF Corporation paid $25.4 million to acquire the company, which it owns and runs to this date (alongside brands like Dickies, Eastpak, Supreme, Timberland, and Vans).
For the fiscal year 2021, The North Face generated $2.5 billion in revenue ($9.2 billion for VF in total). It operates more than 200 stores across the world and employs close to 3,500 people.
One random (and tragic) side note though: Douglas Tompkins unfortunately (and somewhat ironically) died in 2015 during a kayaking trip in Patagonia, Chile – a region that certainly served as an inspiration for the next company.
Headquarters: Ventura, California, United States Founder(s): Yvon Chouinard Year Founded: 1974
Patagonia, when it comes to sheer brand awareness and strength, is undoubtedly one of the biggest competitors to Canada Goose. The company, despite targeting a slightly less affluent demographic, is often favored by the same type of customers.
The DNA of Patagonia is grounded in its social purpose. For example, it donates one percent of its annual profits to non-profit environmental groups. It, furthermore, vehemently rejects fast fashion. As a result, it not only produces long-lasting products but even offers a repair and reuse program with which customers can trade in their products.
Patagonia remains in private ownership to this date. Previous reports, which were released before the coronavirus pandemic, have put its annual revenue at around $1 billion. Additionally, Patagonia employs over 2,500 people.
Headquarters: Épagny-Metz-Tessy, France Founder(s): Georges Salomon Year Founded: 1947
Salomon made a name for itself by producing and selling ski binders. By the mid-1970s, it became the world’s leading binding brand and sold over one million of them every year.
The company eventually expanded into alpine boots and other types of outdoor apparel. Its first clothing line was released in 2001, which officially initiated the shift towards Salomon as an apparel company.
Salomon was purchased by Adidas in 1997, then sold to Amer Sports, which also owns Arc’teryx (mentioned later), Atomic, Wilson, and other brands, for €485 million in 2005. Adidas abandoned its ski equipment and clothing lines when it sold Salomon.
The company currently employs close to 3,000 people and has 190 retail locations across the world. Unfortunately, Amer Sports was delisted in late 2018 after being sold to Anta Sports, which means it does not file income reports anymore.
As a result, revenue and profit numbers for Salomon are currently not available. However, in 2018, the last year when Amer Sports was still filing income reports, Salomon had generated $500 million in annual revenue.
5. Jack Wolfskin
Headquarters: Idstein, Hessen, Germany Founder(s): Ulrich Dausien Year Founded: 1981
Another one of the leading outdoor brands that originated outside of North America is Germany-based Jack Wolfskin.
For the first 12 years of its existence, Jack Wolfskin had only supplied other specialist stores. In 1993, it opened its first store.
The company changed hands multiple times. Most recently, Callaway Golf Company had acquired Jack Wolfskin for €418 million in November 2018.
For the fiscal year 2021, Callaway, which also has its own namesake brand focused on golf and owns other brands like Odyssey, generated around $3.1 billion in revenue. Of that, $817 million can be attributed to the ‘Apparel, Gear and Other’ segment, which includes the Jack Wolfskin, TravisMathew, and portions of the Callaway brand.
Moreover, Jack Wolfskin employs over 1,400 people who are mostly employed across the European region where its brand is the strongest. It, furthermore, operates close to 500 retail stores.
Headquarters: Freeport, Maine, United States Founder(s): Leon Leonwood Bean Year Founded: 1912
After founder Leon Leonwood Bean returned from a hunting trip with cold, damp feet, he came up with the idea for a boot that would combine leather uppers with rubber bottoms. Ironically enough, the first 90 out of 100 pairs were sent back by customers as the bottom rubber separated from the leather top.
Luckily, the founder and company prevailed and, throughout the years, was responsible for some iconic product designs such as its Zipper Duffle or Norwegian Sweater. The company, despite Bean’s death in 1967, remains in family ownership to this date.
For the fiscal year 2020, L.L.Bean recorded sales of $1.59 billion, up 5 percent from the year prior. L.L.Bean operates 54 stores in 19 states across the United States, along with 25 stores in Japan. It, furthermore, employs over 4,600 people.
Headquarters: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada Founder(s): Dave Lane, Jeremy Guard Year Founded: 1989
Another Amer Sports-owned property is Arc’teryx, which got its name from the Archaeopteryx lithographica, the first reptile to develop feathers for flight (i.e., the first bird).
Arc’teryx started out by selling Gore-Tex jackets to ambitious climbers and mountaineers, but now they make a whole range of gear for people who spend time in the outdoors.
Arc’teryx was actually sold to Salomon in 2001 and switched hands two more times after the Amer Sports and Anta Sports purchases went through.
The company currently operates 75 stores across the world, employs over 1,500 people, but unfortunately does not disclose revenue numbers as of today.
Headquarters: Kent, Washington, United States Founder(s): Lloyd Anderson, Mary Anderson Year Founded: 1938
REI, short for Recreational Equipment, Inc., is a co-op that was started after the Andersons imported an Akadem Pickel ice axe from Austria to partake in The Mountaineers Basic Climbing Course. They then set up a co-operative to aid other outdoor enthusiasts to purchase quality equipment.
The Andersons managed to recruit 21 of their friends who each paid $1 for a lifetime membership. That co-op has now grown to 20 million lifetime members, about 15,000 employees, and 168 retail locations which are mostly based in the United States.
Apart from offering other brands, such as The North Face or Patagonia, the company has also developed its own clothing line called REI Co-op. Owning one, if not the largest online shop for outdoors, consequently allows REI to push its own products.
9. Eddie Bauer
Headquarters: Bellevue, Washington, United States Founder(s): Eddie Bauer Year Founded: 1920
Another retailer turned outdoor apparel manufacturer is Eddie Bauer which began producing clothing in the mid-1930s. The firm’s namesake founder, after a fishing trip, almost died from hypothermia, which prompted him to create the design of what would become the first visibly quilted down insulated outdoor apparel jacket available to U.S. customers (called The Skyliner).
Throughout the decades, Eddie Bauer outfitted dozens of mountain expeditions. By the 1980s, it had become a full-fledged apparel manufacturer, offering anything from jackets to pants. The company was also one of the first ones to move into catalog sales.
Eddie Bauer, after various ownership changes (and even going through bankruptcy in 2003), was acquired in May 2021 by Simon Property Group for an undisclosed sum. The company, furthermore, employs close to 3,000 people and operates around 370 retail locations.
10. Helly Hansen
Headquarters: Oslo, Norway Founder(s): Helly Juell Hansen Year Founded: 1877
Certainly, the oldest company on this list, Helly Hansen has been designing and manufacturing clothes for close to one and a half centuries.
Sea Captain Helly Juell Hansen, together with his wife Maren Margrethe, began by selling workwear for long days at sea.
Helly Hansen now generates $400 million in revenue per year and employs over 1,000 people. The company’s ownership changed multiple times throughout its existence. Most recently, in May 2018, it was acquired by Canadian Tire Corp. for CA$985 million.
Headquarters: Burlington, Vermont, United States Founder(s): Jake Burton Carpenter Year Founded: 1977
Burton, which was started by a former investment banker who grew tired of his city lifestyle, began by manufacturing and selling snowboards – which it is still known for today.
In fact, it’s now the leading snowboard manufacturer in the world. However, the company has since expanded into selling all kinds of outdoor clothing.
Burton is estimated to generate over $400 million in annual revenue. The company, which is still family-owned, furthermore employs over 1,000 people and operates around 70 flagship stores.
Headquarters: Rohnert Park, California, United States Founder(s): David Huntley, Eric Reynolds, Lock Miller Year Founded: 1971
Marmot was founded by students of U.C. Santa Cruz who founded the Marmot Club, a social club for mountaineering enthusiasts.
The founders began by making parkas and sleeping bags in their dorm rooms, but they soon expanded to include other outdoor apparel. In 1976, they became the first outdoor apparel company to utilize Gore-Tex.
Marmot became part of Newell Brands in 2016, which acquired Marmot’s parent company Jarden Corporation for $16 billion in 2016.
Newell generated $10.6 billion in revenue for the fiscal year 2021 but did not disclose how much of that could be attributed to Marmot. The company currently employs around 200 people and operates three retail stores.
Canada Goose Competitive Advantage
The main competitive advantage of Canada Goose is its superior product quality as well as the brand strength that it has managed to amass.
As previously stated, all of the firm’s products are manufactured in Canada, which customers see as a sign of quality.
In a time where the vast majority of fashion brands rely on Asian manufacturing facilities, staying close to home has allowed Canada Goose to start with a much higher price point.
For example, competitors such as L.L.Bean have shifted the majority of their production to cheaper countries and only around 25 percent of its products are still made in Maine. This also prompted L.L.Bean to reduce its lifetime warranty, which ultimately led to customers revolting – and partially abandoning the brand.
On the other side, Canada Goose remained in its home country, which enabled it to sell its coats for a minimum of $1,200 and amass some very healthy profit margins of over 60 percent in the process.
“’Made in Canada’ is not just a slogan for us,” CEO Dani Reiss (also the grandson of co-founder Sam Tick) said in an interview with Forbes. “The depth of our Canadian production expertise and the scale of our infrastructure is a significant competitive advantage.”
This is especially important given that customers in the outdoor industry often need to purchase the best available products to weather the forces of nature they face. To that extent, Canada Goose has been sponsoring a variety of professionals, for example by supporting expeditions to Antarctica.
Consequently, those sponsorships ultimately help to increase the brand’s awareness and strength. After all, if someone is able to survive in the Arctics by wearing a Canada Goose jacket, then the products are certainly suitable for milder conditions as well.
Canada Goose certainly walks the walk when it comes to making a point. In the mid-2010s, it created “cold rooms” within its retail stores. Those rooms, which temperatures can be as low as –25 Celsius, allow customers to test the quality of its jackets.
Consequently, Canada Goose offers customers a lifetime guarantee, which further underscores the belief it has in its ability to manufacture quality products.
Interestingly enough, it was CEO Reiss who oversaw the firm’s shift towards becoming a luxury brand. Before, Canada Goose had various private-label deals that allowed other fashion companies to utilize its designs.
Realizing the power of brand, Reiss abandoned all those private-label deals and instead committed to pushing Canada Goose as a brand.