The National Shooting Sports Foundation (nssf.org) surveys federally licensed firearms retailers across the country every year to find out what products are the biggest sellers and who is buying.
NSSF issues these annual reports based on online surveys. This data shows which types of firearms and ammunition were most popular the previous year and at the same time allows retailers to compare their businesses to that of other gun stores across the country.
“What retailers tell us in this survey helps our entire industry assess the current state of the shooting sports market,” said NSSF Managing Director of Business Development Randy Clark. “The NSSF Retailer Survey is an extremely valuable business tool.”
A total of 752 firearms retail businesses located in all 50 states provided responses to the survey. The businesses ranged in size from single proprietors to large outdoor specialty retailers.
One of the most important benefits of the report is that it identifies retailing trends by comparing results from past years’ surveys. “These surveys have given NSSF and industry a valuable benchmark to identify trends during what has been an extraordinary sustained dynamic market for firearms, ammunition and accessories,” said Jim Curcuruto, NSSF’s director of industry research and analysis.
Categories in the report include products sold, sales trends, markets and customers, advertising and online marketing, and shooting ranges and buying groups, among others.
A sample of findings in the report include . . .
84 percent of retailers surveyed reported that overall sales last year exceeded sales from the previous year.
76.9 percent of retailers surveyed said sales of AR-style modern sporting rifles exceeded sales from the previous year (60.1 percent), the largest increase in the firearms category.
Retailers surveyed said that 25.8 percent of their customers were first-time firearm buyers.
The number of female customers continues to increase. 78.6% of retailers surveyed said more women came to their stores than previously.
Firearms most often purchased by women were a semiautomatic handgun followed by revolvers, modern sporting rifles, shotguns, traditional rifles and muzzleloaders.
In addition to retailers benefiting from the report, manufacturers can gain valuable insights from the survey results into the kinds of new products they should look into developing.
Curcuruto said that the number of retailers who participate in the survey has grown each year. Retailers who participated in the survey, as well as NSSF Voting Members, receive a free copy of the report.
The full report may be purchased from NSSF (nssf.org/research/RetailerSurveyReport)
Read more in our March 2014 issue. Back issues are available.