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The floor of SHOT Show

LAS VEGAS — Nearly 60,000 firearms industry professionals will make their way here to the annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade ShowSM (SHOT Show®) Jan. 17-20 to get a first look at the new products and services they hope will excite customers in 2012.

The $4.1 billion industry continues to be a bright spot in the anemic U.S. economy, as sales in 2011 topped the previous year’s. Through December, adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check statistics, an indicator of industry sales, showed 19 straight monthly increases over the same period of the previous year, and background checks for Black Friday, Nov. 25, set a new one-day high.

“We are grateful and proud that our industry has helped maintain jobs from the manufacturer through retail levels during these difficult economic times,” said President and CEO Steve Sanetti of NSSF. “Industry is delivering products that people desire for sporting purposes and personal and home defense. We see no reason why this won’t continue during 2012. Buying activity at the SHOT Show will give us a first look at the industry’s prospects for the year ahead.”

The 34th annual SHOT Show will take place for the third straight year at the Sands Expo and Convention Center. The largest trade show of its kind in the world, the SHOT Show attracts buyers from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. Manufacturers and distributors display a broad range of products, including firearms, ammunition, optics, reloading, locks and cases, shooting range equipment, targets, training and safety equipment, hunting accessories, law enforcement and tactical equipment, hearing and eye protection, tree stands, scents and lures, cutlery, GPS systems, holsters, apparel, leather goods, game calls and decoys.

Given the size of the SHOT Show at more than 600,000 net square feet, the Sands is stretched to capacity. Improvements made to the venue prior to the 2011 show to improve crowd flow, seating and signage were given an enthusiastic thumbs-up by attendees in the post-show survey. Enhancements to the 2012 show include making room in the sold-out exhibition halls by having larger exhibitors voluntarily reduce their booth space so that smaller companies could move off the show’s waiting list and onto the show floor. “We received outstanding cooperation from our longtime, voting member exhibitors who sacrificed some of their booth space for the good of the show,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “Our exhibitors instinctively understand that what’s good for the SHOT Show is good for the marketplace. As a result, we anticipate a vibrant, successful show.”

NSSF will present its State of the Industry Dinner on the first evening, with Outdoor Channel serving as the title sponsor of the event. The Foundation will show its State of the Industry video and present an achievement award to a most-deserving recipient. NSSF also will assist in the kickoff of the 75th anniversary celebration of the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Act, through which the industry has contributed nearly $7 billion to wildlife conservation since 1937. A crowd of more than 2,000 will be entertained by comedian Larry the Cable Guy.

The 2012 show, whose theme is “One Industry — One Voice,” will bring together manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, publishers and wildlife conservation groups to conduct business, exchange ideas, renew contacts and reaffirm the unity that has been the hallmark of the shooting sports industry in these challenging times.

For retailers, the SHOT Show provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity to gain a hands-on education about the products they’ll be discussing with their sportsmen customers. New products seen at the SHOT Show will arrive throughout the year at retail stores.

The largest number of outdoor media in the world turns out at the SHOT Show to cover the introduction of products and to report on the firearms and outdoor industry. NSSF credentialed more than 2,000 media members for the 2011 show. At SHOT Show Media Day at the Range, scheduled for Monday, Jan. 16, the day before the show, members of the press can handle, test and learn about the new products that will be on display over the next four days.

With all segments of industry in attendance, the SHOT Show provides a perfect setting for organizational and educational meetings. On the day before the show opens, retailers take advantage of SHOT Show University to learn from experts about new marketing strategies, store financials and compliance with federal regulations. Additional seminars for retailers are scheduled during the show covering topics such as knowing your competition, exporting firearms, hiring smart and the benefits of utilizing GunBroker.com, along with presentations from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Law enforcement professionals will have a series of seminars to choose from as well.

The SHOT Show is a “must-see” event for industry professionals, who can register to attend the show at http://www.shotshow.org. The website is also the place to find out all that’s happening at SHOT during and after the show.

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A new report, authored by Southwick Associates and commissioned by the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), reveals that officials looking for cost-effective ways to stimulate the economy should look no further than out their own windows: the great outdoors and historic preservation generate a conservative estimate of more than $1 trillion in total economic activity and support 9.4 million jobs each year.

“As a former Secretary of the Interior, governor, senator, and mayor, I have witnessed firsthand how historic preservation, conservation and outdoor recreation result in tremendous benefits to our nation’s economy,” said Dirk Kempthorne. “This study is a valuable tool for reaffirming and quantifying those benefits.”

The report is packed with information. Highlights include:

· In 2006, according to the Outdoor Foundation, the total contribution from outdoor sports in the United States was nearly $730 billion per year, generating more than 6.4 million jobs and $99 billion in federal and state tax revenues. This includes hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, hiking, camping, snow sports, paddle sports and bicycling.

· In 2006, the combined spending effect of hunting, fishing and wildlife watching associated with National Forest Service land totaled $9.5 billion in annual retail sales, supported 189,400 jobs and provided $1.01 billion in annual federal tax revenues.

· Every million dollars invested in residential historic rehabilitation generates approximately 36 jobs, $1.24 million in income and nearly $200,000 in state and local taxes.

· In 2010, 15 million visitors to Civil War battlefields managed by the National Park Service in just five states (Missouri, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia) generated 7,700 jobs.

“It is important to note that, unlike many studies released in recent days that attempt to project future jobs to be created by yet-to-be enacted legislation, the jobs and benefits we report currently exist. Any jobs associated with future conservation investments would be over and above the figures reported here,” reported Rob Southwick, President of Southwick Associates, who authored the study.

“Natural resource conservation and historic preservation programs provide hundreds of thousands of jobs and strong returns on public investments that primarily help rural communities and cannot be exported abroad,” said John L. Nau III, chairman emeritus of the Civil War Trust and co-chair of the AVCRP. “This country needs jobs that leverage private investment and conserve our precious natural resources and historic spaces.”

Readers can access the report on the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s website. If you would like to discuss details of the study and its implications, contact Rob Southwick at rob@southwickassociates.com.

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FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. — A look at the buying habits of sportsmen in 2011 compared to the previous year reveals purchases of hunting and fishing equipment have remained steady in the current year, and in fact, even slightly improved.

In the most recent survey at HunterSurvey.com, participants were asked if they were buying more, less or the same amount of hunting equipment so far this year compared to 2010. Those responding they were buying more accounted for 24.7 percent of the responses, a 4.9 percent increase over the previous year. Meanwhile those purchasing the same amount dropped one point to 39 percent as those reporting they were buying less dropped 3.1 percent.

Asked the same question except as it relates to the purchase of fishing equipment, AnglerSurvey.com respondents saying they were buying more jumped a statistically insignificant 1.5 percent from 16.2 to 17.7 percent. Those buying the same increased 4.4 percent, while those indicating they had bought less dropped 3.6.

“While everyone in the hunting and fishing industry would love to see the ‘buying more’ responses make a significant jump, at least some of the fears of a so-called double dip recession, at least where these markets are concerned, does not appear to be on its way. Sportsmen are pretty much buying the same amount of gear,” said Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates, which designs and conducts the surveys at HunterSurvey.com, ShooterSurvey.com and AnglerSurvey.com.

To help continually improve, protect and advance the shooting sports and outdoor recreation, all sportsmen and sportswomen are encouraged to participate in the surveys at HunterSurvey.com, ShooterSurvey.com and AnglerSurvey.com. Each month, participants who complete the survey are entered into a drawing for one of five $100 gift certificates to the sporting goods retailer of their choice.

About AnglerSurvey.com, HunterSurvey.com and ShooterSurvey.com: Launched in 2006, AnglerSurvey.com, ShooterSurvey.com and HunterSurvey.com help the outdoor equipment industry, government fisheries and wildlife officials and conservation organizations track consumer activities and expenditure trends. The information above represents only a small sample of the vast amount of data collected from the complete survey results and available to government agencies, businesses, the media and other interested parties. Results are scientifically analyzed to reflect the attitudes and habits of anglers and hunters across the United States. Find them on Facebook at http://facebook.com/huntersurvey and http://facebook.com/anglersurvey .

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