Hoping For Bad News Isn't Good For Gun Sellers

Should retailers be worried about a slowdown in sales? And is it “ethical” to hope for a bad political result to scare people into buying more guns?
Hoping For Bad News Isn't Good For Gun Sellers

By definition, retailers always worry about a slowdown in sales, even when merchandise is flying off the shelves. But should retailers worry about a slowdown in sales at this time? Probably, depending on individual circumstances.

There is no doubt that the market for just about anything “tactical” was red-hot for a while. Once some of the current adjustments play out, it looks to be a rather steady and at least semi-strong market going into the future.

Now that the shooting sports are returning at least to a degree back to manageable trends, it is more important to monitor what customers have the disposable money to buy than it is to focus on some glitzy new whiz-bang whatever that someone wants to foist upon the market.

To a significant degree, it looks as though the economics of what is left of the great middle class income demographic will rule as significantly as anything else. Customers may want all kinds of things. Whether they can afford them is perhaps a different matter. There is no question that the buying power of the middle class has been affected — and in most instances, not positively.

Nothing lasts forever. In recent years feverish buying in many categories has resulted in shortages, which means that in those categories, things sold themselves as quickly as they were put on the shelves. And sometimes items never even made it to the shelves but instead were sold directly from the loading dock.

Historically, the shooting sports industry has not been as extreme as the fishing tackle industry when it comes to booms and busts. But there have been booms and there have been hard times in the gun world, and when they’ve happened, there have been some significant “adjustments” needed.

I doubt that the bottom will fall out of the market. It seems as though there is no question that we now are in a “new normal,” which portends to result in at least a good market in the near term. That’s good news.

So what about the ethics of wishing for a bad political result in the future in hopes that it will trigger increased sales? Wishing bad is never a good idea. Negative motivation rarely creates positive results in the end. This industry is above that negative nabob sort of thing, I would hope. Also, wishing bad and having things actually be bad are two distinctly different things. Put wishes in one hand and something else in the other hand and see which way the scales lean.

A strong future for the shooting sports industry needs to be based on positive expansion for the right reasons. That’s what works long-term. And we have all of the elements to see that happen.

We have an expanded base. Some numbers I have seen put the population of shooters upwards of 35 percent above just a few years ago. And it looks like that base continues to grow.

So long as that continues, good times should follow.

But we cannot merely rest on our laurels, either. The market is there, but only if it is pursued. The entire “tactical” evolution has changed the way a great number of people view guns, shooting and their place in that picture.

Demographically, things have expanded in both younger and older strata. More women are now actively shooting than before, and that trend seems to be both real and sustainable.

The operative concept here is “actively shooting.” It has been obvious in recent times that, unlike similar boom times in the past, first-time gun buyers now are actually shooting their new guns a lot. Before, huge numbers of folks, as a reaction to news that made them feel uneasy, bought guns, maybe a box or two of ammo, stuck them in a closet and went on with their lives.

No longer. This time around they have been buying the guns and as much ammo as they can afford (or can find), and they are going out and actually shooting.

It is that larger, sustainable demand that represents hope for a pretty bright future for those who focus on it and serve it seriously. That’s business, not politics. No wishing ill here — just doing the right thing for business, which is to deliver what the customer wants and can afford.

Other than the constant need to be political in the sense that we guard against the anti-gun interests, it is much more lucrative to focus on making money by satisfying a hungry market than it is to wish bad upon others, even if they truly deserve ill.

But by having strong businesses, we automatically counter the effects of what those antis want to do. It not only makes political sense — it makes business sense.

More than at any other times in the history of Gundom, the concept of “commodity” comes into play these days. High-tech machinery and the general move to computerized business have made it possible for companies to crank out products in large numbers, all of which are at least very similar if not virtually the same.

This, of course, leads to sales that are based much more predominantly on price, because differences in the quality and function can be close, if not virtually identical. And, when price is the sole or overwhelming driver, big buyers get the breaks at the expense of all others.

Rough game. That’s why it is important to be proactive rather than reactive.

Which brings us back to the question of wishing the bad guys ill. Rather than be reactive to them, be proactive in business and the rest will sort itself out in time.


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