Signs From Boisterous Trade Show Signal Strong Selling Year.
SHOT Show 2015 continued where SHOT Show 2014 left off, with a near-record number of attendees and a variety of improvements to enhance the show experience for both exhibitors and attendees. The 37th annual NSSF event attracted nearly 64,000 attendees — the second most in its history, with the record of 67,000 set at last year’s event — at the Sands Expo & Convention Center in Las Vegas, Jan. 20-23.
Lower attendance reflected strengthened pre-screening of attendees to enhance the overall experience of both exhibitors and buyers. NSSF reports it denied attendance to 2,200 applicants who attended the 2014 show because they couldn’t provide proof they were doing business in the industry. This, NSSF says, is an ongoing effort to reduce “tire kickers” at the show.
The numbers may have fallen short of setting a record, but exhibitors were very pleased with the event.
“It’s been a very busy show. We’re optimistic with the good vibe we’re seeing on the floor, sales will pick up again and we’ll have a solid year,” said Cindy Daniel, Daniel Defense executive VP.
“We’ve been very busy, and there hasn’t been much downtime. Increasing our booth size and design and its new position in this hall has been good for traffic, but we’re also focusing on education,” said Kort Nielson, SilencerCo social marketing manager.
The strong showing at SHOT Show bodes well for the rest of the industry, according to Chris Dolnack, NSSF senior VP and chief marketing officer.
“We know from long experience attendance at the SHOT Show is a reflection of the state of the industry. This second highest attendance is in keeping with what we saw in the past year — our industry is in good health and that manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers have a positive outlook for this year,” Dolnack said.
With over 1,600 exhibitors — and attendees from all 50 states and over 100 countries — the SHOT Show is the largest event in the industry and fifth-largest trade show in Vegas.
A “Determined” Industry
At the State of the Industry dinner, NSSF President and CEO Steve Sanetti categorized the industry as “determined” to the over 2,400 in attendance.
“At the conclusion of the first day of SHOT Show, I can say that the state of our industry is ‘determined,’” Sanetti said. “We’re determined to educate, to persuade, improve, grow, work together and succeed in our mission to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports.”
Sanetti presented a number of facts to counteract the belief propagated by the anti-gun lobby that the industry is in decline.
“Some pundits say the shooting sports is ‘in retreat.’ Well, look at the facts. Last year’s SHOT Show, one of the fastest-growing trade shows in the nation, had its highest attendance and satisfaction levels ever, the number of federally-licensed firearms retailers is growing, firearm sales experienced the second highest year ever and ammunition sales continue at near-record levels; firearms permit and safety classes report long waiting lists and the number of apprentice hunting licenses increased to well over 1 million. If this is a retreat … I wonder what an advance would look like,” Sanetti said.
The resolve of the industry is evident, according to Sanetti.
“I have never seen our industry more determined to succeed in its mission by working together. And may that determination never falter,” he said.
Industry Day At The Range
The 2015 SHOT Show drew 2,500 credentialed media, with more than 1,100 of them attending the revised Industry Day at the Range. New for 2015, the Industry Day at the Range invited all media in the morning session and had over 400 buyers attend the afternoon session. Held the day before the opening day of SHOT Show, Industry Day is the largest media and buyer event of its kind with 170 exhibitors.
“Industry Day 2015 was a huge success. The annual Industry Day at the Range is an invaluable part of introducing new products,” said Chris Davis, Glock marketing manager.
“Seeing and handling all of the new gear at SHOT is one of the show’s greatest draws. However, actually using the gear is what puts Industry Day at the Range at the very top of my list every year,” said Kevin Wilson, Davidson’s account development manager, eastern region.
The inaugural HAVA/NSSF Golf Classic raised awareness and support for Honored American Veterans Afield (HAVA). The tournament took place on the Sunday before the show at the Bear’s Best Golf Club in Las Vegas.
“All of the teams enjoyed ideal conditions, obviously some more than others, on this day filled with competition and just as importantly, fun,” said Tom Taylor, HAVA chairman. “Next year, we plan to broaden the event and fully expect a full field of 120-plus players.”
FMG Publications presented the NSSF a check for $281,000 during the State of the Industry Dinner. The check represents the amount raised in recent years at FMG’s Shooting Industry Masters, and is designated to support NSSF’s First Shots program.
“We’re all aware of the vital role First Shots plays in ensuring new shooters get started correctly, safely and fully understand the responsibility of owning a gun. First Shots also helps us infuse and grow our ranks and build our businesses,” said Randy Molde, FMG Publications VP of business development and Masters chairman. “We at FMG Publications will continue to support this key NSSF program through the Shooting Industry Masters.”
The 2015 SHOT Show Auction raised $74,670.99 in support of America’s hunting and shooting sports heritage. Hosted on GunBroker.com, the auction generated over 145,000 views and more than 250 bids.
Hornady’s first-ever manufactured rifle, “The Hornady Number One,” received the highest bid in the auction, raising $61,325. The high bid for two Century Arms Made-In-America rifles was $5,424.99, while two 9mm TP9SA pistols received a high bid of $1,295. A pair of signed Mossberg Duck Commander Model 930 Signature shotguns signed by Phil Robertson attracted a high bid of $5,026. A Ross Tyser Bull Elk Bowie Knife garnered $1,600 from the auction. The Hunting Heritage Trust manages the auction.
Mark Your Calendars
The 38th SHOT Show will return to the Sands Expo & Convention Center, Jan. 19-22, 2016. Last June, NSSF announced it added two years to its agreement with the Sands; the SHOT Show will remain at the Sands Expo & Convention Center through 2020.
By Jade Molde
Click Here To View The Shooting Industry April 2015 Issue Now!