Costco is a retail giant operating in 825 locations worldwide. Founded by Sol Price, the company began its journey in 1976 in San Diego. The Price Company and Costco combined later on in 1993, paving the way for Price/Costco.
In 1997, the company faced the first biggest rebranding, changing its name to Costco Companies. Inc. They later went on to settle with the current name in 1999.
Costco started its journey by exclusively focusing on a business model that catered to small businesses in the area. Later on, they restructured their business, pivoting around clients who were not company owners. The initiative proved fruitful as the company started experiencing larger revenue flow in the following years.
Today, the company earns around $195.93 billion annually.
What separates Costco from other retail brands is their unique stance in operating their stores. Costco does not have standby staff to guide customers nor do they offer shopping bags. It operates as an open warehouse. The customers need to have a membership card to shop at Costco.
They have successfully experienced growth every year and stand with 828 warehouses worldwide.
For customers, Costco is a convenient grocery shopping store. A special store to get groceries at a discounted price with a wide range of products. Costco also has its own brand, Kirkland which produces a multitude of food and beverage items.
Key Costco Statistics
- Costco operates worldwide from 828 locations, 574 of them are in the USA and Puerto Rico.
- Over the last 10 years, Costco has enjoyed a CAGR of 8.2%.
- Presently Costco has 288,000 employees.
- Costco’s annual stock price has not fallen since 2016.
- As of September 2021, Costco has a member count of 111.6 million people.
- 91% of the members renew their membership each year.
- Annually, Costco generates revenue of $195.93 Billion.
- They have a customer satisfaction rate of 81%.
- Costco is the sixth most valuable retail brand.
Costco Annual Revenue
Costco generated $192.1 Billion in 2021 — a 17.49% increase in annual revenue from 2020. Even amid the Corona Pandemic, they managed to see a yearly 9,21% growth in revenue in 2020.
With an 8.2% CAGR in revenue over the last 10 years, the company has seen consistent growth. The revenue growth was 17.5% in 2021 due to the demand surge in the pandemic, almost double the growth compared to the previous fiscal year.
Here’s a complete breakdown of the year-over-year revenue growth of Costco in the last 5 years:
|Year||Annual Revenue||YoY Revenue Growth|
The annual percentage of Costco’s stock was 18.43% in 2021. Being one of the few companies surfing against the tide, Costco’s stock in 2022 has been an outlier to date for outperforming its peers.
With a record-breaking 91% membership renewal rate, it’s no surprise that the company is managing to thrive against all the odds. Such positive growth has been reflected in their current performance as the company already reached 102.3 Billion in revenues in 2022.
Costco Sales in Different Countries
Costco is currently operating in 12 countries with the US being their major stronghold. The company also has a good influence in other major European and Asian markets.
Costco Stores in the US
With 574 stores across 48 states, Costco has its strongest base in the US. They have seen steady growth as well as higher revenue in the United States.
Here’s a brief rundown of Costco revenue from US stores in the last 5 years:
According to their 2017 financial statement, the company accumulated an outstanding total of $93.9 Billion revenue in 2017 from the US alone. The number only soared in the coming years and hit around $111.7 Billion in 2019.
The revenue increased to $141.4 Billion by the end of 2021.
Costco Stores in Canada
After the US, Canada has been the most prominent earning source of Costco. The stores in Canada are also selling more year by year.
Here’s how Costco is faring up in Canada:
In 2017, the Canada-based stores had a revenue of $18.7 Billion. By 2021, that number had reached $27.3 Billion, showing no sign of decline. These stores there may not earn as much as their US counterparts, but the growth rate is nonetheless impressive.
The other countries include Mexico, Japan, The UK, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, Spain, France, China & Iceland. As of 2021, the total revenue from all these countries amounts to $27.2 Billion, almost what they earned from Canada alone.
Despite slight hiccups due to the pandemic, Costco outlets outside the US and Canada are thriving at a decent pace.
Costco Annual Membership Fee Revenue
A tiny yet good portion of Costco’s revenue comes from their membership subscription as they hugely rely on their returning customers. With an impressive member retention rate surpassing 90%, Costco excels in retaining the trust of its customers.
The Gold Star membership level at Costco, a members-only big-box discount retailer, costs $60 per year. Upgrading the cost to $120 a year can give you access to the Executive membership. It includes additional savings, privileges, benefits, and cashback on qualifying purchases. Lastly, the business membership costs $60 which is mainly sought out by resale-based businesses.
Costco continues to grow its membership fee revenue which represents 2% of total revenue.
In 2010, Costco pulled a total of $1.69 billion from its annual membership fee revenue. They doubled the number in a decade standing at $3.54 billion in 2020. Their latest membership revenue statistics revealed an 8.7% increase in revenue totaling $3.88 billion in 2021.
Costco Members Worldwide
Just over 111 million individuals have paid for a Costco membership in 2021, according to their statistics. Since 2009, the number of cards has been continuously increasing. Costco’s international income has been consistently expanding over the past years and is likely to continue.
Costco has almost doubled its membership count too in a decade. They are going from 58 million members in 2010 to having 105 million by 2020.
Costco started as a popular shopping destination for rich senior adults in the United States. Customers visit the wholesale club every two to three weeks on average. That accumulates to making 23 trips per year.
They account for around 11% of the average Costco shopper’s purchase. This is comparable to what the average individual spends on Amazon.
In the United States, the most typical Costco consumer is an Asian American woman. The individual is aged between 35 and 44 years, married, and has a four-year degree. The person earns more than $125,000 annually.
The second most common age group at Costco is those over 65, followed by Hispanics and Caucasians.
Costco Members by Membership Type
In 2019 Costco had 44.6 million household cardholders & 42.9 million gold star members. By adding the remaining business cardholders the total members measure up to 98.5 million members.
By the end of 2020, Costco consisted of 105.5 million members. They had 46.8 million gold star members & 47.4 million household members that year. And the remaining 11.3 million members belonged to the business membership program.
According to September 2021 statistics, Costco has a total of 111.6 million members. Out of which, 50.2 million members were gold star members. 49.9 million members were household cardholders & the rest were business members.
Costco spaces are much like a warehouse. The products are displayed on tall shelves and usually kept in bulks. Being one of the most successful businesses in the industry, Costco still strives for growth.
Every year, Costo aims to grow its outlets all around the world. On average, a Costco warehouse size ranges from 73,000 to 205,000 square feet. The company reached the 800 warehouse milestone in the dawn of 2021.
The huge number of warehouses located in 12 countries makes Costco the fifth largest retailer in the world.
Despite the absence of marketing in their business strategy, Costco attracts repeat customers with their simple yet rewarding shopping experience.
Costco Warehouses by Country
As of April 2022, the United States contains the most store numbers which is 574. After the U.S Canada has the second-highest operating stores with a number of 106.
While Mexico has 40, Japan has 30 & U.K has 29 functioning stores. On the lower sides, South Korea has 16, Taiwan has 14, Australia has 13 and Spain has 4 stores running. There are two stores available each in France & China; and only one store in Iceland.
Costco intends to establish more stores in the countries that currently have a lower percentage of stores operating. They already started operations to add another 28 stores in 2022.
Costco Sales Per Warehouse
In 2011, The average sales for a warehouse were 146 million U.S dollars. From 2012 to 2014 the average sales went up to around 159 million U.S dollars. However, the sales took a slight dip of 2 million dollars in 2015 & 5 million dollars in 2016 compared to 2014.
Shaking off the slight slump, the sales continued to soar again after 2016. In 2017 the average sales per warehouse were 163 million U.S dollars. From 2018 to 2019 the average sales were around 179 million U.S dollars.
In 2020 The sales greatly boosted up to 192 million U.S dollars. And till 2021, Costco’s average sales per warehouse amounted to 217 million U.S dollars. This is the highest amount of sales Costco was able to manage so far.
Costco Operating Expenses
Running such a big-scale operation requires massive expenses, and going through the operating expense of Costco can show just how big the scale actually is.
Costco had to count a hefty sum of around $172 billion (including pre-opening costs) in 2015 to cover its operating expenses.
From 2016 to 2017 the merchandise costs & the selling, general, and administrative costs were around 101 & 11 billion U.S dollars. The pre-opening expenses for 2016 were 65 million U.S dollars & for 2017 it was 78 million U.S dollars.
In 2018, the operating expenses totaled 111 billion U.S dollars for merchandise alone. For the selling, general & administrative costs the cost was about 13 billion U.S dollars. And the pre-opening expenses amounted to only 82 million U.S dollars.
In 2019, the annual operating expenses slightly increased by 7.93% from 2018 spending around 146 billion U.S dollars. Costco’s operating expenses for 2020 were 161.5 billion U.S dollars, a 9.03% increase from 2019.
The post-pandemic operating expense rose to $189.21 billion in 2021. A good 17.29% increase from 2020. But till now the highest amount was seen in 2022 which is $202.1 billion.
How Many Active Employees Work at Costco?
Costco has been ranked no.1 for having the best company culture among companies employing over 500 workers according to a 2018 study. This simple study shows that Costco is always willing to take the extra few steps to ensure employee happiness.
And they employ a huge number of employees. Here’s the constant growth of employee number of Costco over the last few years:
|Year||Number of Employees|
In order to run such an intricate chain of workflow all around the world, Costco employed around 254,000 employees, according to a 2019 report.
That same year, Costco provided employment to 167,000 employees in the US, and about 42,000 employees in their Canadian warehouses.
In 2019, Costco hired another 34,000 employees, with a 13% raise in 2021. This also includes part-time workers along with full-time employees.
In contrast to the other companies striving for acquiring more market share, Cosco fares very well to keep its strong influence in the market.
Here’s how Costco performed in comparison to other major US retailers in the past years in global retail sales:
|Costco||$149.3 B||$163.2 B||$192.1 B|
|Walmart||$510.3 B||$519.9 B||$555.2 B|
|Walgreens Boots Alliance||$120.1 B||$121.9 B||$132.5 B|
|Amazon||$280.5 B||$386.1 B||$469.8 B|
|Lowe’s Companies||$71.3 B||$72.1 B||$89.5 B|
|Home Depot||$108.2 B||$110.2 B||$132.1 B|
The biggest competitor to Costco is perhaps Walmart, who leads the market race by leaps and bounds. But even amidst the intense competition, Costco holds a solid sales figure ahead of a good number of other retailers.
In fact, Costco is the sixth most valuable retail brand globally.
They have faced constant growth rates over the years and went from earning $149.3 Billion to $192.1 Billion in just a couple of years.
Costco Brand Value Compared to its Competitors
|Company Name||Brand Value|
|Home Depot||$52.9 B|
This comparison is between the global competitors of Costco. Costco has a brand value of $37.5 Billion, compared to Amazon’s $350.2 Billion. Amazon is leading while Alibaba is right behind them with a $240.5 Billion brand valuation.
Walmart is currently in third place with a brand value of $111.9 Billion. Home Depot has a higher brand value than Costco. The brand value of Home Depot is $52.9 Billion.
Even though Costco is behind in terms of brand value, it is growing. Both their brand valuation and market share are growing day by day.
Costco reported net sales of $192.1 billion in the fiscal year 2021, up 15% from 2020. Even amidst the pandemic and after the pandemic they are showing no signs of slowing down. Additionally, in 2022’s Q1 and Q2, they have already earned $102.3 billion.
The stats are really promising and indicate the strong foothold Costco has in its market. Costco is well-known for converting warehouse shopping into a pleasurable experience for its customers. The firm caters to a wide range of loyal consumers, offering a variety of products.
It will be interesting to see the company still growing like this in the days to come. Let’s hope we get to see the full story as time unfolds.