March 11th, 2008

Hunting and Shooting Sales top $3.7 Billion

The popular media often depict hunting and shooting as ‘niche’ activities, out-of-step with general trends in society. And of course golf and tennis receive much more coverage in the media than do shooting sports.

In fact, hunting and shooting are hugely popular. Americans spend more money on hunting and shooting equipment than on golf, tennis, fishing, or skiing gear. $3.7 billion was spent on hunting and shooting equipment in 2006, including $2.18 billion in firearms sales. According to data released from the National Sporting Goods Assn., sales of hunting and shooting-related equipment exceeded gear sales for every other sport activity, except exercise equipment. That means hunting and shooting are more important to the economy than golf, more important than tennis, more important than sport fishing.

New statistics show that hunting gear and firearm sales topped $3.7 billion in 2006, up 4.1 percent from the previous year. Only exercise equipment performed better, with sales of $5.22 billion, according to NSGA’s most recent “Sporting Goods Market” report. Golf equipment, which claimed the No. 2 spot the previous year, fell into the third spot with $3.66 billion in sales.

Included in the hunting- and shooting-related equipment category are firearms ($2.18 billion in 2006 sales), airguns ($224.1 million), ammunition ($977.1 million), knives ($51.8 million), paintball guns/packages ($220.9 million), and reloading equipment ($52.0 million).

“These statistics not only further demonstrate the willingness of America’s 40 million hunters and shooters to spend big bucks to enjoy their lifestyles, but also show our industry’s success in continuing to develop new products to meet their needs,” said Doug Painter, president of the firearm industry’s trade association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

Top 10 Sports Equipment Sales Categories (2006):

1. Exercise – $5.22 billion
2. Hunting and firearms – $3.71 billion
3. Golf – $3.66 billion
4. Athletic goods team sales – $2.62 billion
5. Fishing tackle – $2.22 billion
6. Camping – $1.53 billion
7. Optics – $1.01 billion
8. Snow skiing – $615.0 million
9. Billiards / indoor games – $570.9 million
10. Tennis – $419.8 million

This report appears courtesy the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).

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