A Look At The Growing Hispanic Market
Last June, the NSSF Industry Summit centered on the theme of “diversity” during the two-day event in Savannah, Ga. In an effort to shake off the “stale, pale and male” tag on the industry, the Summit highlighted the importance of welcoming new demographics into the shooting sports.
NSSF has placed a special emphasis on reaching the Hispanic market, evidenced by developing a Spanish version of its website and by commissioning a study to delve into the potential of this developing market. Working with marketing research and business consulting firm Tobintel, NSSF released the results of this study to NSSF members in August 2015. The report, A Hispanic Market Study: Firearms and the Shooting Sports, reveals several key opportunities for forward-thinking dealers, manufacturers and other industry professionals to attract a potentially new, passionate demographic to the shooting sports.
Growth Provides New Customer Base
Tobintel conducted an online, self-administered interview in April 2015, with 1,264 Hispanics completing the survey. There were 860 male respondents (68%) and 404 females (32%). There were both English and Spanish versions of the survey, with 60 percent of the surveys completed in English.
The report included some important demographic and financial insights. The population of Americans with Hispanic ancestry has grown nearly 11 times since 1950, increasing from 5 million to an estimated 57 million today, according to the report. By 2020, estimates project the Hispanic population will grow to 63.5 million — a year-to-year growth of 2.4 percent.
This report reveals 65 percent of the growth rate of Hispanics comes from Hispanics born in the U.S. and accounts for 13 million U.S.-born Hispanics. This means more Hispanics are becoming acculturated to U.S. traditions and culture, leading to increased interest in and acceptance of firearm rights, firearms ownership, the Second Amendment and participation in the shooting sports.
Hispanics in the U.S. currently control over 10 percent of the U.S. consumer buying power. The industry should take note: The Hispanic market buying power is projected to eclipse $1 trillion within four years.
Firearms Ownership, Participation
Hispanics consistently expressed an interest in the shooting sports while taking the survey. Many considered themselves active participants. Eighteen percent of respondents said they owned a firearm, while an additional 25 percent said they would like to own one in the future. Twenty-seven percent of Hispanic women said they would be interested in owning a firearm.
Early exposure to firearms directly impacts firearm ownership. Thirty-six of respondents said they grew up around firearms, and a third of them own a firearm today — which accounts for 65 percent of today’s Hispanic firearms owners. Only 10 percent of respondents who did not grow up with firearms are firearms owners.
Of those who said they owned a firearm, 60 percent said they had purchased a firearm in the past two years — averaging $674 in the transactions, with 60 percent of the purchases including other items such as ammunition or accessories. Fifty-five percent of the last purchases were handguns and 45 percent were for long guns. Pistols (45%) and rifles (28%) were the most popular handgun and long-gun purchases respectively. Men (31%) are more likely than women (13%) to purchase a rifle, while women (61%) are more likely than men (41%) to buy a pistol. This will likely come as no surprise, but Hispanics said their top motivations for purchasing a handgun were for home protection and self-defense, while rifles and shotguns were primarily purchased for hunting.
The survey also found those born in the U.S. (32%) said they would like to own a firearm, while foreign-born Hispanics (26%) expressed the same interest. This supports the acculturation stance: Hispanics born in the U.S. are more likely to have positive views about firearm ownership and the shooting sports.
Among Hispanic firearm owners, 42 percent shoot at an organized shooting range. Participation in shotgun sports (35%) and hunting (20%) also ranked high among Hispanics. In an encouraging sign, 76 percent of those who visit a range do so with others. The three most popular firearm-related activities for Hispanics are target shooting at a controlled range for fun (29%), shotgun sport participation (27%) and target shooting at an uncontrolled range (13%).
Of those who have never been to a shooting range, 40 percent said they would consider going to one. Looking at the numbers further, 53 percent said they would go if they received an invitation from a friend or family member and 42 percent said they would take a training class.
To reach a new demographic successfully, it’s important to know how to market to it, being familiar with things such as how the group identifies itself, its preference for receiving marketing messages and how it reacts to a sales message. This report provides some telling insight for dealers on how to specifically market to Hispanics in their area.
From the survey, 54 percent of respondents preferred being called “Hispanic” over “Latino,” while 25 percent found either term was equally acceptable. For advertisements, 68 percent of respondents stated they understood advertisements in English better than those in Spanish. Furthermore, 50 percent said they found English-language advertising to be more persuasive than Spanish-language versions.
Relating specifically to the shooting sports, 79 percent of respondents said they’d prefer to receive firearms or shooting sports communication in English. When asked which language would be more persuasive to try something new in the shooting sports, 61 percent of respondents answered “English,” while 29 percent said either English or Spanish would be most persuasive and 10 percent said Spanish would be more persuasive.
Like other demographics in the U.S., social media plays an important role in keeping Hispanics informed. Over 90 percent of respondents said they use social media, with Facebook (61%) and Google+ (9%) the most frequently used to get information. Facebook was the most popular social media platform (61%) to receive information in Spanish.
Impressions Of Gun Stores
The survey also touched on Hispanics’ interactions with dealers. Forty-two percent of those surveyed said they had visited a gun store. First-generation Hispanics have had the least exposure to gun stores (35%) and second- and third-generation Hispanics have higher levels of exposure — in the 45 percent range for both groups. Hispanics expressed an overall positive impression of gun stores, with 91 percent of respondents saying they had a favorable experience.
Further showing the importance of gun stores, 39 percent of respondents said they would look to a gun store or shooting range to get information on firearms. Hispanic women (69%) are slightly more likely than men to seek information from friends or family. Forty percent of those who completed the English survey would go to friends or family for information compared to 17 percent of those who completed the Spanish survey.
Being on the front lines, dealers play a crucial role in welcoming new shooters to the sport every day. What has your store done to develop good relations with customers from other demographics? We’d love to hear about it, send a note to email@example.com.
This report is available for free to NSSF members. Non-members may purchase the report in a PDF at www.nssf.org/research.
By Jade Molde