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Lululemon Competitors and Alternatives: Who Stacks Up Against this Sports Apparel Company?

Brent Davis - June 08, 2021

Lululemon Competitors

Lululemon Athletica is a popular sports apparel company from Vancouver, Canada.

The brand was founded by Chip Wilson in 1998 to provide yoga clothing for women that would help reduce sweating.

Since then it has expanded into a brand that serves both men and women a variety of athletic wear.

 The company has expanded into international markets and has its own retail stores.

There are nearly 500 Lululemon stores throughout North America, Europe, Oceania, and Asia.

The company is publicly traded on Nasdaq under its ticker symbol LULU and is included in the stock market index the NASDAQ-100 component.

In 2019 the company had total revenues of $4 billion with an operating income of $889.1 million.

19,000 employees work for Lululemon across its manufacturing and retail businesses

The company had its initial public offering in July 2007 and managed to raise $327.6 million. Its first European flagship store was opened in 2014.

Let’s take a look at some of the biggest Lululemon competitors!

Lululemon Biggest Competitors

Lululemon Competitors

Lululemon has thrice been named one of the fastest-growing companies by Fortune magazine between 2010-2013.

What started out as a yoga apparel company became a lifestyle brand that caters to all genders.

The brand is still known for its yoga products such as yoga pants and yoga mats.

 Lululemon now produces a wide range of items including tops, jackets, socks, and bags.

It manufacturers its own products and sells to other businesses wholesale such as yoga studios and health clubs.

Lululemon has opened its own stores with locations around the world in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. 

In 2020 Lululemon acquired startup Mirror which had found success with its interactive mirrors for at-home workouts.

This style of workout became increasingly popular during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lululemon wanted to capitalize on this trend and invest in it to bring new content for the devices.

Relatively speaking Lululemon is a new company when compared to those it competes with. 

Let’s take a look the Lululemon’s competitors and alternatives:

  • Nike – The largest manufacturer of athletic shoes and apparel.
  • Adidas – The second-largest sportswear brand behind Nike.
  • Gap – Competes with Lululemon for premium sportswear for women and is more inclusive.

 

Lululemon Competitors: Nike

Lululemon Competitors

Nike is the leading brand for sportswear and in particular sports shows. The brand was created in 1964 as Blue Ribbon Sports until a rebrand to Nike in 1971.

The company was founded by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight and is located in Beaverton, Oregon.

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Nike is well known for its range of shoes including the premium and hard-to-get Air Jordan’s and Air Force 1’s.

Alongside its extensive shoe range, Nike sells apparel for all sorts of sports including running, tennis, and football.

Nike is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol NKE.

The brand reported total revenue of $37.40 billion in 2020 and had an operating income of $3.12 billion. 

Lululemon competes with Nike as it introduces more footwear products to the market.

Nike has a primarily male market while Lululemon is predominantly aimed at women.

Both brands sell goods for all genders but Lululemon has some way to catch up with market leader Nike.

Lululemon Competitors: Adidas

Lululemon Competitors

Adidas is a lot like Nike in a lot of ways, they are the second industry leaders and sell sportswear and sports shoes.

Adidas is the biggest sports brand in Europe but Nike takes the lead on a global scale. 

Lululemon has some way to go catch up to either of these brands. However, what works in Luluelemon’s favor is that it is more attractive to women.

Adidas is perceived more as a male-centric brand, despite having plenty to offer women. 

The company began in 1949 founded by Adolf Dassler and is headquartered in Herzogenaurach, Germany.

The company is publicly traded on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange under its ticker symbol ADS.

The company reported total revenues of €21.915 billion in 2018 with an operating income of €2.368 billion. 

Chip Wilson, the founder of Lululemon, is confident that his brand will overtake Adidas for the number two spot by 2025.

He believes that the switch to more comfortable activewear gives his company a competitive advantage.

 

Lululemon Competitors: Gap

Lululemon Competitors

Gap is a clothing brand that sells athletic wear under is Athleta brand.

The company was founded in 1969 by Donald and Doris F. Fisher. The headquarters for Gap Inc. is in San Francisco, California. 

Gap stores are located worldwide with over 3,500 locations across the world. There are over 2,000 in the United States alone.

There are several other brands owned and operated by Gap Inc. including Old Navy, Banana Republic, and Intermix.

Gap is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol GPS.

The company reported total revenue of $13.800 billion in 2021 with an operating income of $-862 million. 

Where Gap and Lululemon compete is through Gap’s Athleta brand which targets its sportswear towards women, much like Lululemon.

Athleta beats Lululemon on price and has a wider range of sizes, making it more inclusive.

Lululemon’s Advantage

Lululemon is in control over its brand distribution which isn’t the case for many of its competitors.

Brands like Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour rely on third-party retailers for sales and aren’t in control of the pricing.

Since Lululemon owns and operates its stores and its website is where most of its sales come from.

Thanks to this the company is able to create loyalty around its brand and keep taking customers away from the bigger brands.

The company also focuses on the often-overlooked female market. Most sports brands are aimed at men, but Lululemon is the opposite.

Lululemon Competitors and Alternatives: Final Thoughts

Chip Wilson thinks that Lululemon can overtake Adidas as the second-largest brand in the future.

This is a lofty goal and one that will require serious expansion and sales from the brand.

As of now, Luluelemon is primarily attracting female buyers. 

To really eat into Adidas’ (and Nike’s) core business they will need to convince male buyers to shop their brand.

With the right kind of marketing and sustained growth, Lululemon could become number two.

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Brent Davis has been writing about the financial markets for 10 years and worked in research for the last five years at a Fortune 500 company. Brent's investing strategy is to buy high-quality companies and then let compounding do its thing.