Southwick Associates Releasing 2023 Industry Outlook

2023 Firearm and Accessories Sales Expected Near 2017 Levels

FERNANDINA BEACH, FL. —Given the many factors that encourage and inhibit growth, Southwick Associates expects 2023’s sales to near 2017 levels.

Several factors are positioned to hold back 2023 sales. First, a better balance in Congress will reduce consumer concerns about future sales restrictions. Simultaneously, consumers are gradually becoming aware of increased firearm and ammunition availability at retail which will ease ongoing scarcity-based demand. Discounting trends that began to show in 2022 will continue in 2023, likely dropping average revenue per sale. So far, inflation and increasing interest rates have not had notable impacts on sales.

Several conditions will help drive 2023 sales. Demand for greater firearms and ammunition sales in some states will continue to fuel sales. In addition, even with demand dropping below 2020-2022 levels, the recent ‘Black Friday’ NICS check data shows consumer interest remains high. Other factors fueling 2023 firearm sales are supply concerns associated with ongoing global military concerns plus personal safety concerns with rising crime and commonly associated with recessions, if one emerges.

Considering all these factors combined – and barring any unforeseen events – we expect 2023’s retail firearms market to ease back to 2017 levels. 2017’s sales were above 2019’s volumes and one of the trade’s best years. Ammunition demand will also decline slightly, but likely not as much as firearm sales. Accessories sales should also do well as long as any potential recession remains mild. Manufacturers and distributors will likely not do as well as increasing retailer inventories will reduce replenishment orders in 2023.

“The factors driving sales are certainly more numerous and complex than we’ve seen before,” said Nancy Bacon, Vice President at Southwick Associates. “However, looking at past years, current conditions remain reasonable for the 2023 firearms and accessories market. Different areas of the trade will do better than others, however, given inventory build-ups and interest rate impacts.”

To learn more, an in-depth review of 2022 plus details regarding Southwick Associates’ 2023 expectations will be featured in the January issue of Shooting Industry. Southwick Associates is also available to meet with companies needing custom, confidential consumer and trend insights at the 2023 SHOT Show.