Profit-Center Guns

Bank On The Stability Of Long-Gun & Accessory Sales

If you examine firearm sales the same way investors look at stocks or mutual funds, you’ll learn that long guns
provide firearm dealers a sure, stable investment. While handguns are today’s thoroughbred, hot-selling performers — partly due to the current political climate — rifles and shotguns are the always-reliable mounts of your sales stable.

How’s your stable looking? Are your rifle — both traditional and modern sporting (MSR/AR) — and shotgun sales, with ammo and accessories, the steadfast part of your business? They should be.

Southwick Associates keeps a finger on the pulse of firearm and related sales and activity. The results of their latest-available survey (November 2011) show rifles continue to be the “most frequently purchased firearm” (47%), and of those rifles, traditional bolt-actions lead the way (55%) as the “preferred rifle action.”

Shotguns come in third as the most-purchased firearm by consumers in November at nearly 29 percent, after handguns (38.6%). Pump-actions were the “preferred shotgun type” (31%) purchased, with 12-gauge the “preferred shotgun gauge” (55%).

And there’s more good news. Southwick reports that in November, consumers also purchased gun-cleaning supplies, targets, gun cases or sleeves, magazines, rifle slings, benches and rests, recoil pads, choke tubes and traps, and target-throwing devices — all solid profit-builders. Of course, the number of accessories for the modern sporting rifle continues to grow, providing steady sales for dealers.

Understanding your customers and their shooting preferences is a major key to success. In November, Southwick reports that 76 percent of consumers taking the survey went hunting. That’s not surprising, given the time of the year. Just as important, 56 percent of consumers went shooting during the month, with 71 percent of them shooting rifles.

Hunting is vital to the success of dealers and the industry, and there are positive signs of increases in this segment of the market. The November Southwick survey reports that hunting equipment was the “most frequent” purchase by consumers.

According to NSSF, 20 states have seen increases in hunting license sales, which tracks with Southwick’s data.
“Hunting-related sales should remain steady, and if the economy starts to gain steam, pent-up demand will be released, and sales of accessories should start growing nicely,” said Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates.
Story By Greg Staunton

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