AutoZone, Inc. (AZO) is the largest retailer of aftermarket automotive parts and accessories in the United States. Founded in 1979 after the success of the first Auto Shack store, AutoZone has 6,051 stores in the United States, 664 in Mexico, and 52 in Brazil. The company offers a mix of do-it-yourself (DIY) and professional customers a wide assortment of parts, including new and remanufactured hard parts, maintenance items, accessories, and non-automotive products.
Given the diversified product mix, AutoZone’s competitors come from various industries. Some compete directly in the automotive aftermarket space, while others are general retailers that sell a limited selection of automotive products.
Over the past years, AutoZone has rewarded its shareholders with healthy dividend growth and share repurchases. According to MarketBeat, AutoZone had a moderate consensus rating from 19 analysts, with 14 giving it a buy rating, three a hold rating, and one a sell rating.
As of August 11, 2022, the company had a market cap of $43.326 billion, with shares trading at a 52-week range of $1,503.30–2,267.40. If we look at the company’s valuation ratios as of August 11, 2022, we can see that it’s trading at a forward P/E ratio of 19.68 and a P/S ratio of 3.03. Based on these ratios, we can say that AutoZone is currently undervalued compared to its industry peers.
This Autozone Competitors Analysis will look closely at AutoZone’s top competitors and see how the company stacks up against them. I’ll also analyze the company’s competitive advantages and see if they are sustainable in the long run.
Bottom Line Up Front
AutoZone Competes in an industry with many large players. Still, it has managed to stay ahead of the competition by investing in its e-commerce platform, expanding its store base, and offering various products. Given the company’s competitive advantages, I believe it will continue to outperform its competitors in the years to come.
List of AutoZone’s Competitors
AutoZone Business Strategy and Revenue Model
AutoZone uses a multipronged strategy built around differentiated products, superior customer service, convenient locations, and a wide assortment of merchandise. By combining new technology and dynamic pricing with in-stock inventory and friendly, knowledgeable customer service associates, AutoZone can offer its customers “an unrivaled customer experience.”
The company is also expanding its store base, especially in international markets. In its F.Y. 2021 report, the company announced plans to expand its store bases in Mexico and double its growth in Brazil. The company also intends to protect its U.S. margins by expanding its commercial business and diversifying its product mix. Its U.S. store growth averaged 3% for the last ten years.
AutoZone’s revenue model is based on a mix of store and commercial sales. Store sales are driven by retail customers who come into the store to purchase products. On the other hand, commercial sales are generated through AutoZone’s website, phone orders, and commercial accounts. The company also offers services such as battery testing, wiper blade installation, and headlight installation.
In F.Y. 2021, the company had $14.629 billion in net sales, representing a 15.81% increase from the previous year. The company doesn’t break down its sales by store and commercial; therefore, we can’t know the exact mix. However, we know that store sales account for the lion’s share of the company’s revenue.
AutoZone Competitor Analysis
Data from Global Market Insights suggest the U.S. automotive aftermarket is worth an estimated $560 billion as of 2021, with an estimated CAGR of 6.4% by 2028. The main drivers of this growth are the increasing average vehicle age and the growing number of vehicles on the road. Increasing competition in the automotive aftermarket space is also a major factor driving the market growth.
To better understand AutoZone’s competitive landscape, let’s look closely at the company’s main competitors.
1. Advance Auto Parts
Advance Auto Parts, Inc. (AAP) is a leading automotive aftermarket parts retailer. The company has its headquarters in Raleigh, North Carolina, and operates over 4,706 stores across the United States and 266 Worldpac branches in Canada, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Arthur Taubman founded the company in 1932 and went public in 1971. As of August 11, 2022, the company had a market cap of $11.806 billion, with share prices trading at a 52-week average of $164.00–244.55.
Advance Auto Parts offers a wide range of automotive aftermarket products, tools, and supplies. The company’s extensive product assortment includes batteries, brakes, engine parts, filters, lighting, steering and suspension products, tires, and transmission parts. Apart from selling products, Advance Auto Parts also offers battery installation, engine diagnosis and repair, and oil changes.
Financially, Advance Auto Parts is doing well. In its F.Y. 2021 report, the company announced sales of $11 billion, an 8.8% increase from the previous year. The company’s net income for the same period was $616 million, a 24.97% increase from F.Y. 2020. Comparatively, AutoZone is more profitable, with an F.Y. 2021 net income of $2.17 billion on $14.629 billion in sales.
To drive growth, Advance Auto Parts is focused on initiatives such as expanding its store base, enhancing its e-commerce capabilities, and optimizing its inventory. It also acquires smaller businesses to gain market share. In 2019, it acquired General Parts International, Inc. (GPI), a leading provider of automotive replacement parts, maintenance, and accessories in North America. The acquisition helped Advance Auto Parts to expand its product assortment, increase its customer base, and enter new markets.
We can say that as one of the largest automotive aftermarket parts retailers, Advance Auto Parts is a major threat to AutoZone. The company’s focus on store expansion, acquisitions, and e-commerce growth will likely help it gain market share in the coming years. Its marketing campaigns, such as Motorsport Sponsorship and its ‘Do the Job Right’ campaign, also help to build brand awareness and drive sales.
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2. O’Reilly Automotive Inc. (ORLY)
O’Reilly Automotive, Inc. (ORLY) is another leading automotive aftermarket parts retailer in the United States. The company was founded in 1957 by Charles Francis O’Reilly and his brother-in-law, David E. Oreilly, in Springfield, Missouri. It went public in 1993 and, as of August 11, 2022, had a market cap of $45.578 billion, with share prices trading at a 52-week average of $562.90 to 748.68.
O’Reilly Automotive operates over 5,873 stores across 47 stores in the U.S. and 27 ORMA stores in Mexico. The company provides a broad range of automotive aftermarket maintenance and repair products, including new and remanufactured automotive hard parts, maintenance items, and car accessories. Its history in the industry, large store count, and broad product offering has made O’Reilly Automotive a tough competitor for AutoZone.
Like Advanced Auto Parts, the company has made several acquisitions to expand its reach and product offerings, including the acquisitions of CSK Auto in 2008 and VIPAR Heavy Duty in 2011. In 2019, it announced plans to acquire Mayasa Auto Parts, which operated five distribution centers and had 20 company stores.
Its expansion ambitions and growth potential have helped O’Reilly Automotive become one of the top competitors to AutoZone. In 2021, the company reported $13.328 billion in revenues, representing a 14.84% increase over 2020. Net income came in at $2.165 billion, or $31.66 per share, up from $1.752 billion, or $23.53 per share, in 2020.
Comparatively, both AutoZone and O’Reilly Automotive have an almost similar number of stores in the U.S. However, AutoZone’s international presence is way ahead of O’Reilly Automotive. The same case applies to the company’s financials. While both companies are profitable, AutoZone has a better financial standing, with higher revenue and net income. This puts AutoZone in a better position to withstand tough market conditions and continue its growth trajectory.
NAPA is a retailers’ cooperative that deals with the distribution and sale of automotive parts and accessories. The organization has its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, with about 6,000 stores across the United States. It’s easy to think of NAPA as a smaller version of AutoZone, but the company has a few key advantages.
First, NAPA has been in business since 1925 and had almost a century to build its brand. Second, as a cooperative rather than a publicly-traded corporation, NAPA is owned by its member stores. This gives NAPA a very different corporate culture and makes it more agile in its decisions. Third, because it is a cooperative, NAPA can offer its member stores favorable terms, allowing them to be more competitive in price.
Apart from the 6,000 stores, NAPA owns 14,000 NAPA Auto Care collision repair facilities. Genuine Parts Company is the lead majority shareholder in NAPA, with an undisclosed stake. Given the backing of a large and stable company, NAPA is in an excellent position to weather any storms and continue growing.
In 2021 the organization had $18.87 billion in 2021 with a gross profit of $6.63 billion. This data represents a 14.11% growth in revenue, higher than AutoZone’s $14.29 billion revenue for the same period. Although NAPA has stronger financials than AutoZone, it doesn’t have the same international reach or store count, which gives AutoZone a competitive advantage.
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4. Pep Boys
Founded in 1923, Pep Boys is a leading automotive aftermarket service and retail chain in the U.S. It has its headquarters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and operates over 1,000 stores across 35 states and Puerto Rico. The company provides various services, including vehicle maintenance, repair, and replacement parts. Through its extensive network of stores, Pep Boys has built a loyal customer base, which it managed to leverage and grow.
Icahn Automotive Group, a holding company, controlled by billionaire investor Carl Icahn, acquired Pep Boys in 2016 in an all-cash transaction of $18.50 per share or $1.03 billion in aggregate equity value. The acquisition boosted Pep Boy’s financials and helped it become a more formidable competitor to AutoZone.
Because Pep Boys is a subsidiary of Icahn Automotive Group, it doesn’t disclose its financials separately. However, in 2021, the group’s L.P.’s automotive sector, within which Pep Boys operates, suffered a $67 million pre-operating tax loss. The group’s revenue for 2021 was 2.38 billion, which was 3% lower than the previous year. Although Pep Boys is a large and well-known company, it doesn’t have the same financial strength as AutoZone.
Since being acquired by Icahn Automotive Group, Pep Boys has been on an expansion spree, opening new stores and service centers. The company is also investing in e-commerce to grow its online sales. These initiatives put Pep Boys in a good position to compete with AutoZone in the future.
Carparts.com is an online retailer of aftermarket and OEM automotive parts and accessories. Based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Carparts.com was founded in 1995 and has since grown to become one of the largest online retailers of automotive parts and accessories. The company sells parts for all major vehicles, including cars, trucks, vans, motorcycles, buses, R.V.s, ATVs, and more.
The company stands out as one of the few pure-play online automotive parts and accessories retailers. It has no brick-and-mortar stores, giving it a cost advantage over its competitors. Moreover, Carparts.com has a wide range of products, making it a one-stop shop for many customers.
Competing with AutoZone means the company has to be able to match AutoZone’s extensive product range. Carparts.com does this by stocking over one million SKUs from over 500 brands. Moreover, it has made several acquisitions to expand its product range. In 2010 it acquired Automotive Specialty Accessories and Parts alongside its subsidiary Whitney Automotive Group (WAG) to bolster its product range.
Through its focus on e-commerce, Carparts.com has managed to grow its revenue significantly. In 2021, the company reported $582 million in revenue, up from $444 million in 2020. However, the company has been making losses since 2018, painting a picture of a not-so-financially strong company.
For Carparts.com to compete with AutoZone, it must focus on reducing its losses and growing its revenue. The management should also consider having a few brick-and-mortar locations to help the company reach more customers.
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AutoZone SWOT Analysis
Below is an AutoZone SWOT analysis highlighting the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
- Extensive product range
- Strong financials
- Well-established brand
- Innovative customer loyalty program
- Reliance on the North American market
- Lack of international presence
- Expansion into new markets
- Acquisitions and partnerships to boost growth
- Further investment in e-commerce
- Increase in electric vehicle sales
- Intense competition
- Changes in consumer preferences
- Economic recession
AutoZone Competitors Analysis (FAQs)
Question: Who is AutoZone’s biggest competitor?
Answer: The biggest competitor of AutoZone is O’Reilly Automotive, with a market capitalization of $45.578 billion as of August 8, 2022. The company stands out as a more formidable competitor to AutoZone due to its bigger size and strong financials. Other top competitors include Advance Auto Parts, Genuine Parts Company, and Pep Boys.
Question: What is AutoZone’s strategy?
Answer: AutoZone’s growth strategy is to expand its store network organically and through acquisitions. The company also focuses on growing its commercial sales, which includes selling to professional customers such as auto repair shops and fleet operators. The company’s DIY and professional customer base is geographically diversified, which helps mitigate local economic conditions’ impact on its business.
Question: Why is AutoZone so successful?
Answer: AutoZone differentiated itself early on by being the first retailer to offer a wide selection of automotive parts and accessories. The company’s focus on customer service, convenience, and selection has helped it become the leading auto parts and accessories retailer. Moreover, its staff is knowledgeable and helpful, enhancing the customer experience.
AutoZone is a leading automotive parts and accessories retailer with a wide product range, good financials, and a well-established brand. Given its strengths, the company can compete in the market and grow its business. However, it faces intense competition from other retailers with a strong market presence. Its biggest competitor is O’Reilly Automotive, which is bigger and has relatively strong financials.
Other players in the market include Advance Auto Parts, carparts.com, NAPA, and Pep Boys. To compete effectively, AutoZone needs to expand its store network, grow its commercial sales, and invest in e-commerce. The company also needs to monitor consumer preferences and the economic environment changes.
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