Dazzling Flashlight Sales

High-Tech Models For Personal Defense, L.E. And The Outdoors Drive Market.

Every customer who walks into a dealer’s store represents a flashlight sale. Hunters, personal-defense-minded citizens, target shooters, campers, law enforcement officers and people who walk their dogs all need a high-quality flashlight. Converting those potential sales into dollars isn’t difficult — if you understand today’s flashlight market.

“We have a diversified clientele, from law enforcement professionals to hunters, so having a diversity of rechargeable and lithium battery flashlights is important,” said Dale Williams, accessories buyer for Buckeye Sports in Hebron, Ohio, and Vance Outdoors in Columbus, Ohio.

Providing those consumers with a wide range of products is crucial to selling flashlights effectively, Williams said.

“We also have price-point flashlights for buyers who want something less expensive. Some of these are older, incandescent brands, but some of the LED manufacturers such as Dorcy and Maglite have lesser price-point models,” he said.

Williams said customers perceive flashlight prices differently than they did even a few years ago.

“When Maglite flashlights first came out, people cringed at the idea of a $39 flashlight,” Williams said. “Now, we do quite well with flashlights up to $150 or more. The two most popular brands for us are SureFire and Streamlight, which are two of the more expensive brands.”

A major feature that draws consumers to LEDs is durability, Williams said.

“They’re tougher, they last longer, they produce a brighter light and they have a longer battery life,” he said. “Part of what’s creating interest is the technology of LEDs is improving.”

However, Williams points out that not all LED flashlights are created equal.

“There hasn’t been an industry standard as far as the actual lumen output is concerned,” he said. “The big manufacturers are trying to go by the ANSI standards, so when they say a flashlight has an output of 120 lumens, there’s a time frame during which it maintains an actual output of 120 lumens.”

On its website, Streamlight offers detailed information on ANSI standards for flashlights. Visit www.streamlight.com and click the “ANSI Standards” tab.
By Carolee Anita Boyles

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Shooting Industry August 2012

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