Our Competitive Strengths
We attribute our success to the following competitive strengths:
Regional leader in growing industry
We are the second largest full-line sporting goods and outdoor recreation retailer in the United States, with 2020 net sales of $5.7 billion. We believe our stores are well positioned geographically, with a strong and growing presence in six of the top 10 fastest-growing MSAs, including Austin, Atlanta, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Charlotte. As of January 30, 2021, 29% of our stores are in four of the top five fastest-growing MSAs. This deep penetration of our established markets results in high customer awareness of, and loyalty to, the Academy name and frequent visits to our conveniently located stores.
The size of the sporting goods and outdoor recreation industry was estimated at $110 billion in the United States in 2020, based on SGI Market Facts—Athletic Footwear & Apparel 2020 and SGI Market Facts—Sports Equipment 2020 by Sporting Goods Intelligence, Inc., and it is growing. According to Allied Market Research, sales growth from 2019 through 2027 in categories we participate, such as outdoor, team sports, apparel and footwear, is expected to grow approximately 6% per annum.
Broad assortment and compelling value proposition across the spectrum
We believe we sit in a sweet-spot of consumer demand, offering a broad, value-based assortment of sporting goods and outdoor recreation products, so our customers can participate and have fun, no matter their budget. Sporting goods shoppers consistently rate us as the top retailer for offering sporting and outdoor recreation products for a wide range of customers and being a one-stop shop. We carefully curate our products to provide the right assortment that appeal to beginners, experts, families and casual participants. In May 2020, over one-third of our customers tried a new sport or activity and came to Academy for the products they needed to get started in their new pursuit. We are the largest value-oriented sporting goods and outdoor recreation retailer in the United States. Our sporting goods customers ranked value as the most important driver in deciding where to shop and Academy was rated as the top retailer for value among sporting goods retailers. We maintain our leading value-oriented position by offering customers extensive choices of “good, better and best” merchandise at a range of competitive prices, coupled with convenient omnichannel solutions, a one-stop shopping experience and helpful customer services, such as free assembly of certain products, product demonstrations, hunting and fishing license certifications, fishing line spooling and bulk product carrying out, among others. We offer a price-beat guarantee where, if our customers find a lower price on an identical, in-stock merchandise advertised in print by any local retailer or select online retailers, we will beat that price by 5%. Our effective merchandise mix and compelling value proposition allow us to cater to both the price-conscious shopper, such as the active parent of a household with several children participating in various sports, and the discriminating shopper, such as the hunting and fishing expert. We are for all.
Diversified mix of industry-leading national brands and owned brands
Our access to national brand and owned brand merchandise creates a comprehensive portfolio of value-based and diversified products, spanning various price-points, that differentiates our assortment from our peers. Our category, brand and price-point mix is unique to Academy and difficult to replicate at other retailers. Approximately 80% of our 2020 merchandise sales was comprised of national brand products, with the remainder coming from exclusive products in our portfolio of 19 owned brands. We have minimal product overlap with direct-to-consumer brands and competitors. No single brand we carry accounted for more than 10% of our 2020 sales.
We have premium access to hundreds of well-recognized national brands, such as Nike, Carhartt, adidas, Under Armour, Columbia Sportswear, North Face and Winchester, which are critical to our market penetration. These brands rely on us to broaden their consumer reach, which fosters a mutually beneficial relationship when it comes to pricing and assortment. We play a critical role in delivering customer volume for these brands, especially as mall-based retailers face further headwinds and our industry consolidates. Our national brand assortment spans across each brand’s price spectrum beyond those of our competitors and we expand below the national brand price spectrum by complementing the assortment with our owned brands. As such, we receive favorable product exclusivity from leading suppliers.
Our owned brand portfolio consists of 19 brands, including Magellan Outdoors, BCG, Academy Sports + Outdoors and Outdoor Gourmet. Our owned brand strategy focuses on in-filling categories and price points that