Since Costco opened its first store in the US in 1983, the membership-only wholesale retailer has expanded into 11 other countries. As a result, Costco is currently the fifth largest retailer in the world.
However, both the majority of the stores that Costco owns and the popularity that the chain enjoys are concentrated in its home country.
If you’re looking for up-to-date statistics, facts, and trends on how Costco got its start and how it’s doing today, you’ve come to the right place.
5 Key Costco Statistics & Facts In 2021
- There are 795 Costco stores in 12 countries across the world.
- Costco was originally two separate companies, called Costco and Price Club.
- Costco employs 180,000 people in the US alone.
- Costco only stocks around 4,000 products in each of its warehouses.
- Costco’s online sales were boosted by 50% during the coronavirus crisis.
23 Costco Statistics, Facts & Trends In 2021
Costco History Facts
Costco is much-loved by shoppers across the world. This is how it got to where it is.
1. Costco’s First Location
The first Costco store opened in Seattle in September, 1983, and two other stores followed closely behind. But, the brand as we know it today didn’t get its start until 1993, when Costco merged with a separate warehouse store chain, Price Club.
Initially known as PriceCostco, the combined entities boasted 206 locations and generated $16 billion in annual sales.
2. The Costco Name
Operating as PriceCostco for four years, the name Costco Wholesale Corporation wasn’t adopted until 1997. The name change came as a result of the family behind the original Price Club stores splitting off to establish a new warehouse club chain, called PriceSmart.
3. Costco Memberships
The original Costco members were all small-business owners. However, upon realizing that there was wider demand for bulk products sold at affordable prices, the founders began to offer memberships to the wider public.
These days, the majority of Costco’s profits come from membership revenue. In 2020, the chain made $768 million from membership fees alone.
4. Costco’s Affordable Food Courts
Costco’s food courts are much-loved, and for good reason. Not only are their famous hotdogs tasty and convenient, they’ve also been priced at $1.50 since 1985. This is just one example of Costco staying true to its tried-and-tested early business model.
Costco Popularity And Market Share Statistics
There are plenty of reasons why Costco is so popular. Read on to find out what they are.
5. A Leading Global Retailer
Costco is one of the biggest retailers in the entire world by revenue. In fact, it comes in second only to America supermarket giant Walmart, which earned around $514 billion in 2018.
Costco’s revenue pales in comparison, coming in at around $141 billion. This is still one billion dollars higher than the revenue of its nearest competitor, Amazon.
6. The Products Costco Sells
With 140,000 square feet of floor space, Costco warehouses are vast. However, each only stocks around 4,000 products at any one time, one-tenth of the range that other leading supermarkets would typically stock.
Many customers shop at Costco for the convenience and cost, rather than the selection of merchandise on offer.
7. Costco’s Low Prices
The low prices of the relatively few products that Costco sells serve to make the chain’s range of merchandise very attractive. In fact, Costco’s prices were found to be lower than competitor Amazon’s on almost 80% of all products.
And, since Costco makes the majority of its profits from membership fees, the store can afford to keep prices low moving forwards.
8. Costco’s In-Store Services
Costco also offers services that give it a competitive edge. These include in-store auto repair, online photo printing services, and insurance. And, just as with the products that you buy, many services accessed through Costco are likely to save you money.
As an example, you can save around 11% on auto and home insurance policies purchased through Costco.
9. Costco Rotisserie Chickens
It might seem ridiculous to attribute Costco’s popularity to the rotisserie chickens it sells, but they do have a part to play.
They typically weigh in at around a pound heavier than other supermarket rotisserie chickens and cost just $4.99 each, just as they have since 2009. So, it’s little wonder they sell more than 164,000 every single day and have garnered something of a cult following.
Costco Logistics Statistics
Operations as big as Costco’s require sophisticated logistical planning. This is how the chain does it.
10. Final Mile Logistics
Costco’s “final mile” logistics operations are carried out by a company called Innovel Solutions, which the chain acquired in 2020. Since renamed Costco Logistics, the acquisition brought with it 1,500 new employees and 11 new distribution and fulfilment centers.
11. Costco’s Reverse Logistics
To cut down on empty miles and carbon emissions, Costco’s transportation team pick up the merchandise or returned goods destined for depots when driving back from warehouse deliveries.
Known as “reverse logistics,” this program also helps to reduce merchandise handling costs.
The customer is often the first person to touch individual items of stock in Costco’s stores. This is because all of Costco’s goods are shipped and stocked in-store on pallets.
As such, Costco can reduce handling and make the most of the capacity it has, both in delivery trucks and on the shop floor.
13. Commute Trip Reduction
For more than two decades, Costco’s Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) program has encouraged employees to vanpool to work together, in order to make commuting more sustainable.
Starting out with 18 vans in the early days, by 2020 there were 68 vanpools and almost 500 riders.
Costco’s Worldwide Reach
Costco has revolutionized grocery retail in countries across the world. Here’s all the latest info on the countries that have Costco stores.
14. There Are Costco Warehouses In 12 Countries
Among the 11 other countries that have Costco warehouses, Canada comes in second to the US with 102 stores, while China, France, and Iceland each only have one.
15. Average Sales Per Warehouse
Costco worldwide sees a rise in average annual sales most years. The only exceptions in the past decade were 2015 and 2016, which saw dips of $2 million and $3 million respectively.
Revenue has, however, increased consistently since then, with a 12.8% year-on-year increase reported for the year ending February 28, 2021.
16. Costco’s New Locations
The success of Costco’s worldwide operations means it is always looking to expand. In fact, in March and April of 2021, the chain is planning to open six new warehouses in the US, Canada, and Japan.
Costco Employee Statistics
Everything you need to know about what it’s like to work for Costco.
17. Hourly Workers
Costco employs around 180,000 people in the US, meaning it is far off being one of the biggest private employers in the country.
Of these 180,000 people, about 90% of them are hourly workers and a majority of them work full time.
18. A Living Wage
Even Costco workers on the basic rate earn more than double the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
As of this year, all Costco employees make at least $16 an hour, up from the $15 starting rate that was in place for the preceding two years.
19. Costco Employee Benefits
As well as a living wage, Costco workers get benefits including vision and dental care, life insurance, and 401(k) programs. As such, Costco was rated the top company for compensation and benefits by employees in 2018.
Costco has faced challenges along the way, but has consistently come out strong. This is how.
20. Costco’s Merchandise
Since Costco warehouses only stock a limited selection of merchandise, they risk losing customers to stores that can offer more choice. However, Costco still caters well to people looking to buy their essentials in bulk and at an affordable price.
21. Direct Competition
22. The Amazon Threat
Amazon’s super convenient online store poses a threat to all brick and mortar retailers, Costco included. However, in spite of Amazon’s meteoric rise, Costco’s performance has remained consistent, and the company continues to perform about as well as it did a decade ago.
Costco Emerging Market Statistics, Facts And Trends
One of the most attractive things about Costco is the fact that its business model has stayed the same for so long. With that in mind, here’s how the company has expanded its offerings in recent years.
23. New Same-Day Delivery Services
In 2017, to keep up with the increasing demand for online delivery, Costco launched its first one-day and two-day grocery delivery schemes, called CostcoGrocery.
As a result of this foray into e-commerce, the retailer was well prepared to deal with the coronavirus crisis. And, not only did online delivery help Costco survive, it meant the chain thrived, with a 50% jump in online sales recorded in the fiscal year 2020.
Costco is constantly expanding, and currently has warehouses in 12 different countries. Known for high-quality products sold in bulk at low prices, Costco’s business model has stayed much the same for many years. And why would it not? Costco members are typically very loyal and have helped to make the retailer the fifth largest in the world.