Dec 2016 – Southwick Associates Industry Newsletter

Welcome to the Southwick Associates newsletter focusing on market research and economics related to hunting, shooting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation

In This Issue

  • Improve Your Connection with Millennial Hunters & Shooters
  • Southwick Associates Announces Staff Changes
  • Firearms and Accessory Customers Are Not All the Same
  • One Size Does Not Fit All When It Comes to First Time Gun Buyers

Improve Your Connection with Millennial Hunters & Shooters

Sportsmen born between 1981 and 2000, better known in marketing and demographic terms as Millennials, have been a challenge for outdoor agencies and businesses accustomed to the traditional interests and habits of older anglers, hunters and shooters. Millennials tend to exhibit spending patterns and activity levels that differ from their more senior fellow sportsmen, but that doesn’t mean they are completely different. Knowing where the similarities reside and where they differ itself can be hard to know. Fortunately, Southwick Associates has researched this important market segment in relation to hunting and shooting, with findings now available in its new study, “The Millennial Report: Comparing Millennial and Non-Millennial Hunters and Shooters.”

Millennial hunters and shooters (those born between 1981 and 2000) are often viewed as an elusive group, challenging conventional industry knowledge of spending patterns and activity levels. In some cases, the difference between these younger and older hunters are minimal, while in other cases, their spending, expectations and activities differ significantly. Examples include:

Fewer millennial hunters and shooters (19 percent) identify themselves as ‘conservationists’ when compared to non-millennial hunters and shooters (27 percent). Despite the image of millennials as being the most tech-savvy generation in history, non-millennial hunters (26 percent) are more likely to purchase items from websites than millennial hunters (21 percent).

Reasoning for these sometimes-unexpected findings are provided in the report, available for $700 from Southwick Associates. The report is designed for marketing professionals wanting to know how to better position their products with the Millennial generation. To see the type of information included in the report, click here.  To order, contact

Southwick Associates Announces Staff Changes to Meet Growing Client Needs

As businesses and agencies in the outdoor industry require increasingly sophisticated data to make more informed growth decisions, Southwick Associates is expanding its staff and services to meet this vital need. We are proud to announce the hiring of two new staff members and research experts, Patrick Hogan and Lorna Caputo, and the promotion of Nancy Bacon to Vice President.

Patrick Hogan, who has an M.S. in Resource Economics from Colorado State University’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, joins the team at the same time he enters the U.S. Army Reserves. His reserve training will be completed in early 2017 when he then joins Southwick Associates’ Florida office fulltime. He earned his B.A. in Environmental & Sustainability Studies from the University of Northern Colorado in 2013 and has experience working for Ducks Unlimited. An avid hunter and angler, we are excited to apply his knowledge to better serve our customers’ outdoor information needs.

Lorna Caputo brings more than 10 years of research experience as she joins Southwick Associates as an analyst and communications expert. She provides Southwick Associates with a wealth of marketing insights from across the outdoor industry where she has worked most recently as a market and consumer insights manager and analyst for the Outdoor Industry Association. Caputo has a B.S. in Marketing and Management from DePaul University and holds a Market Research Analyst Certificate from the University of Georgia. Her focus on consumer insights brings a new level of information and services to Southwick Associates’ clients, while her experience growing up in a Wisconsin hunting and fishing family brings interpretive skills.

In addition to the increased staff, Nancy Bacon has been promoted to Vice President.  Based on her exceptional skills in helping companies identify information solutions to their marketing, product development, and management challenges, Bacon now manages all of Southwick Associates commercial accounts.  With more than twenty years in the hunting and shooting sports industry, Bacon understands the type of information needed by companies to achieve new growth.

“The outdoor industry is a dynamic, ever-changing environment. To successfully market to outdoor enthusiasts, companies and organizations must always ensure they have the best information possible to base their decisions,” says Rob Southwick, President of Southwick Associates. “We welcome Patrick and Lorna to the Southwick team and are pleased with Nancy accepting new responsibilities here.  These changes will help us increase our services and value to our many clients.”

Representatives of Southwick Associates will be available to meet at the 2017 SHOT Show in Las Vegas Jan. 17-20. For information on Southwick Associates many services and reports, visit For inquiries or to schedule a meeting, contact Nancy Bacon at

Firearms and Accessory Customers Are Not All The Same –  A Consumer Segmentation Study

Growing your business depends on knowing who favors your products, who favors your competition and why. By understanding all the segments that represent the firearms and accessories market, businesses can:

  • Refine communication and advertising initiatives.
  • Improve new product development efforts while better defining their product mix.
  • Merchandise their products at retail for easier shopping and faster decision making.

A consumer segmentation analysis identifies the uniquely distinct parts, or segments, of the market. In a needs-based segmentation, each segment shares a common set of motivations for wanting to buy a product and their preferred styles or features. It is not based on what the customer looks like or how they use their firearms. By understanding why consumers decide to buy a firearm, and the reasons why they selected specific firearms, companies can improve their products and customer interactions. For example, some consumers want premium quality and unquestionable precision – price is no object. Other consumers desire everyday functionality and acceptable workmanship all at a good value.

First-ever consumer segmentation insights are now available from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). Based on a survey of more than 6,000 U.S. households combined with extensive statistical analysis, this first-ever consumer segmentation study of the U.S. firearms market provides these important insights which move beyond demographics and get into what really motivates people.

This summary represents the tip of an information iceberg. In January 2016, greater details for each segment will become available from the NSSF, based on a just-completed survey of 95,000 firearm owners and users. Details include purchases of accessories and common shooting-related services, geographic distribution of specific customers, cross-over activities, retail preferences and more. Results will be presented at the SHOT Show next month. For more information, contact Jim Curcuruto, NSSF’s Director of Industry Research and Analysis ( to learn more about these new consumer segmentation resources, including how you can access the NSSF’s extensive database in 2017 to identify new growth opportunities or to learn more about specific niches of the U.S. firearms and accessories market.

One Size Does Not Fit All When It Comes to First Time Gun Buyers

For nearly a decade, firearm sales have been driven in part by a fear of increased restrictions on firearm sales and ownership. However, the recent presidential election may minimize this sales driver. Companies who best understand the new customer will perform better in an increasingly competitive marketplace. As a subset of its bigger consumer segmentation project, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) now has new research explaining the interests and motivations behind newcomers’ first-time firearm buying purchases.

For organizations and businesses looking to attract first-time customers into the shooting fold, it’s important to provide products that meet their initial expectations and to use communications that recognize the subtle motivations driving their interest. Realizing it’s impossible to craft a marketing campaign or advertisements for each individual, it is possible to identify key motivations that exist across unique groups of customers. This is called consumer segmentation. Southwick Associates has assisted the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) in identifying eight segments of potential new consumers, not by what they look like or how they will use their firearms, but rather on a common set of motivations.

The report summary “First Time Firearms Buyers Segmentation” is but a small part of a much more detailed study to identify people who currently do not own a firearm but have expressed interest in purchasing one within the next five years. The summary notes there are 24.4 million Americans who fall within these identified consumer segments. This translates into a lot of potential new customers and sales, plus greater excise tax and license dollars for conservation.

Following are very brief summaries of the eight consumer segments identified by Southwick Associates and the NSSF:

  • The Aspiring Hunter – is a younger person most likely to describe themselves as outdoors oriented and old fashioned.
  • The Fun Fanatic – is interested in purchasing a firearm to have fun with family and friends or on their own. Fun Fanatics shoot regularly, often with friends, and are now considering buying their own firearm.
  • Learner – desires to personally engage with firearms. Owning a firearm would give them the hands-on experience they seek. Their motivations for purchasing a firearm lie in their aspiration to better understand firearms and to know specific types of firearms better and even develop shooting skills.
  • Anxious Buyer – is primarily concerned with one thing-purchasing a firearm before sales are further restricted. They are currently the largest potential market segment making up 22 percent of the United States public “very likely” to buy a firearm.
  • Aspiring Target Shooter – is considering purchasing a firearm to go recreational shooting, and differs from the Fun Fanatic.
  • Unprepared Protector – is interested in purchasing a firearm to defend their household. Currently, members of this segment are unprepared to defend their home via firearms and they desire to change that.
  • Unarmed Aaron – is mostly male and desires to make a firearm purchase to protect himself while at and away-from-home.
  • Weaponless Wendy – is female and like Unarmed Aaron is looking to purchase a firearm to provide herself with personal protection at and away-from home. She shares the same desire as the other protection based segments to own a firearm before sales are further restricted.

Manufacturers and retailers looking to learn more about these consumer segments or need assistance in better understanding their customers and new sale opportunities should contact Jim Curcuruto, NSSF’s Director of Industry Research and Analysis at, or Nancy Bacon, Vice President of Southwick Associates at


About Southwick Associates:  Southwick Associates is a market research and economics firm specializing in the hunting, shooting, sportfishing, and outdoor recreation markets.  Celebrating 25 years in 2015, Southwick Associates is renowned for delivering comprehensive insights and statistics assisting business and strategic decisions across the entire outdoor industry; from government agencies, industry associations and non-profit organizations, to affiliated businesses and manufacturers.  Aside from custom market research, and economic impact studies, Southwick also provides syndicated participation, media consumption, and equipment purchase tracking studies utilizing their three proprietary sportsmen panels.  Visit for more information.