Southwick Associates released a report this week that details the size and trends experienced in the shooting and hunting industry during 2019. Although the figures reflect the period prior to the ongoing string of record-setting gun sales months that began this year, the findings indicate safety is foremost among gun owners and provide additional information not reflected by the FBI’s monthly NICS background check volume.
Firearm storage, for example, experienced the largest growth in sales during 2019. At a time when gun sales were still gripped by a lethargic “new norm,” the figures reflect a willingness by enthusiasts to invest in measures to secure their collections and prevent unauthorized access.
The demand for pistol cartridges began long before gun sales started to break previous records—indicating increased focus on home- and self-defense.
“Firearms and ammunition stabilized in mid-2019 then started showing slight gains in units sold for the remainder of the year, with handgun ammunition showing double-digit increases in both unit and dollar sales,” said Nancy Bacon, vice president at Southwick Associates. “For the product categories tracked, total units were flat while the average price paid pointed to significant discounting in nearly all categories.”
Despite all the rebates and deep discounts that made headlines in 2019, the report found that firearms and ammunition experienced less discounting than related products in other categories. Handguns, shotguns, and traditional rifles all saw an increase in units sold over the prior year.
The report wasn’t all glowing news, though. Those categories that experienced a decline in sales were optics, black powder, firearm parts and shooting equipment. The overall value of the market in 2019 dropped to $19.5 billion. Last year’s estimate for total firearm sales, however, came in at 13.9 million nationwide. As of June, 2020’s figure now stands at more than 10 million—and the busy holiday and hunting shopping seasons are still months away.