By Carrie Lightfoot
Each year, The Well Armed Woman (TWAW) issues surveys to gather data on women. The 2019 survey was sent to women who are both new to gun ownership and those who have been gun owners for years — revealing who they are, what products they’re purchasing and what they want from the firearms industry.
As I shared with you in previous articles for Shooting Industry (“6 Considerations For Earning A Woman’s Business,” June 2019; “Debunking Two More Myths Of The Female Customer,” Dec. 2019), women are different — in fact, very different from your male customers. The more you, as gun store and shooting range owners, understand and align your business with them, the more you’ll reap the rewards.
A Look At The Numbers
Over 5,000 women took part in the 2019 survey, providing hard numbers to support the real impact women have in the firearms industry. It’s also useful information that can be used to effectively and efficiently capture these valuable customers.
Respondents ranged in age from 18 to 80-plus. A whopping 91% of the women are 35 years or older, with the majority of respondents in the 56–65-year-old range, capturing 33% of participants. The second-largest age group represented was women 46–55 years old, 28%. These numbers are telling, and although many in the industry are beginning to understand the power and influence of the mature American female gun owner, it further bolsters the case.
There’s no denying women are a
force here to stay and they’re actively
engaged in the industry.
Let’s be frank: The mature woman is where the action is. These are the women flooding ranges and gun stores across the country, and they have the discretionary income to support their habit. In the survey, 30% of them reported a household income of $100,000 or more. These numbers should not only convince you, but move you to welcome these mature and eager customers with open arms.
The women surveyed also documented they purchase a lot of guns and gear. On average, women who purchased handguns in 2019 each purchased four (yes, four) handguns. In 2019, these women spent $3.5 million on handguns. If that doesn’t ring your bell, I’m not sure what will.
Something to keep in mind: there are an estimated 30 million female gun owners in the U.S., and this sampling — although very healthy for a survey with only a one-week participation window — represents just a fraction of them.
Gear, Long-Gun Figures
In terms of spending on holsters and gear, these women spent $2.1 million in 2019. On average, each respondent spent $540. We all know how healthy the margins are in accessories, so stocking up on women’s gear may be an excellent idea. A majority of the women surveyed carry concealed; 61% responded they do so regularly.
These women are also very active in the long-gun market — 22% of them purchased one in 2019. The top-ranking long-gun brands for respondents were (1) Ruger, (2) Mossberg, (3) Remington and (4) Smith & Wesson.
When asked if they owned long guns and how many they own, more than 3,000 women responded they do — and a lot of them. Hold on to your hats, as 14% of them own 10 or more long guns! This number surprised me.
Top Brands, Products
Top 5 Handgun Manufacturers
1. Smith & Wesson
3. SIG SAUER
5. Springfield Armory
Top 10 Handgun Models Purchase
1 S&W M&P 380 Shield EZ
2. SIG P365
3. GLOCK 43
4. S&W M&P Shield
5. GLOCK 19
6. SIG P238
7. Ruger SR22
8. GLOCK 43X
9. Ruger LCP
10. SIG P320
Source: TWAW Annual 2019 Survey
Women Are Here To Stay
I’ve thrown a lot of numbers and percentages at you in this article. However, we all understand you can’t operate or execute a purchasing or marketing strategy without them. There’s no denying women are a force here to stay and they’re actively engaged in the industry.
Although women still represent the minority of the firearms market, They’re certainly a powerful and worthy contributor to your bottom line. In sharing this information, I hope it inspires you to continue seeking to understand who they are and what they want, and strive to provide the products and services they crave.
Carrie Lightfoot is the founder and owner of The Well Armed Woman LLC, as well as the founder and chairwoman for TWAW Shooting Chapters Inc. — a 501(c)(3) organization with almost 400 chapters in 49 states.