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Shooting Industry December 2011 Digital Edition - Page 42

M ark Kresser, the new president and CEO of Taurus International, sees 2012 as a good year, despite the weak economy, with challenges only affecting certain segments of the market. “The buying trends of most people have shifted quite dramatically over the past four or five years. The products that are selling throughout the year have shifted. For instance, the cycles for sales of hunting products have been shortened dramatically, which requires a tremendous amount of planning and research to make sure you hit it right. However, in home security and concealed carry, it’s a yearround business,” Kresser said. Kresser said the weak economy has created opportunities in segments of the industry. Shift In Buying Trends “The economy is certainly something we have been lucky to escape, especially in the areas of home security and concealed carry. I do see a trend that is strongly geared toward rimfire, and I think that’s a piece many manufacturers have sensed and embraced, and we will do the same. There are also some shifts into the airgun market, which will continue to get better. That’s a segment of the industry we should keep our eye on,” Kresser said. The national elections could impact the industry, according to Kresser. “During an election year, there is always the possibility of some volatility in the industry. I think you will see discussions of guns, gun control and concealed carry as we get closer to the election,” Kresser said. Taurus is changing the way it introduces new products, Kresser said. “As we launch new products for 2012, for lack of a better word, we’ll sneak up on our customers — we’re going to have products in the warehouse before we talk about them. It’s a new approach for us, but it’s time for us to coordinate our marketing and sales efforts so that we ship, sell and market product all at the same time, when it’s ready,” Kresser said. Taurus will launch new products quarterly, Kresser said, with a lot of advance planning. “It’s critical that we no longer spend dollars advertising and promoting items that aren’t quite ready,” Kresser said. The Sweet Spot In The Market T he industry must keep a close watch on the economy, said Lane Tobiassen, president of Crimson Trace. “At some point, you have to believe the overall economic conditions will affect our industry. It has affected the hunting side and some of the more discretionary segments. It has had less impact on personal and home defense,” Tobiassen said. Crimson Trace’s segment of the market is driven by attitude, Tobiassen said. “Most people who own a personal defense firearm never use it to protect themselves, but they have an attitude that goes into their decisions on whether to buy, or what to buy. So, we watch that pretty closely, because when the attitude changes, the behavior is going to change,” Tobiassen said. The impact the election will have on the industry is “anybody’s guess,” he said. “If the current administration stays in the White House, that will have a certain effect; I think it will maintain some of the industry’s momentum. But, it’s obviously not good for the industry longterm to have the current administration in place. If a different administration takes office, the dynamic will change,” Tobiassen said. For 2012, Crimson Trace is releasing its LightGuard, the company’s first tactical weapon light, and its first rail-mounted laser. Tobiassen said Crimson Trace is in a position for “tremendous” growth. “We feel we’re at the sweet spot of the market — in the personal defense business, handguns in particular, concealed carry areas. Those are the active segments for us in the market. We’re going to run as fast as we can to keep up with that demand,” Tobiassen said. he industry’s challenges in 2012 lead off with the presidential and congressional elections, according to Steve Sanetti, president and CEO of NSSF. “We find that few shooters realize that when they vote for a president, they are actually casting their vote for the entire executive branch of our government in Washington. Combine that awesome power with the fact that all of Congress is up for election next year, one in which the control of the Senate could well switch to a different party, and you can see how important the sportsmen’s vote will be,” Sanetti said. The anti-gun movement will continue its campaigns in 2012, Sanetti said. “Attacks on our right to own and use Countering Anti-Gun Issues, Promoting Industry T firearms for legitimate purposes will continue, though a very recent Gallup Poll shows that support for gun control has never been lower among the general population (see page 10). The UN will vote on a global Arms Trade Treaty next year. This and other international arms control efforts will be closely watched,” Sanetti said. NSSF continues to counter outdated laws and attacks on the industry. “In those few states that still prohibit Sunday hunting as a legacy of 19thcentury ‘blue laws,’ many groups are working to overturn these outdated statutes and allow families to hunt together on what is often the only day of the week when they are together. Extreme ‘green’ groups will be pushing to totally ban tra- ditional ammunition containing lead components,” Sanetti said. Sanetti points to the 17 consecutive months of increased NICS background checks during a severe recession as “a pretty good problem for our industry. “The challenge will be to continue this salutary trend by providing consumers with the kinds of firearms, ammunition and accessories they demand. And it is especially gratifying to see violent crime and accidents have continued to decrease nationwide during this period of increased sales, hopefully putting to bed that old nostrum that ‘more guns equal more crime,’” Sanetti said. For more information on these and other issues, visit 9 Dealers: Panteao “Make Ready” DVD Giveaway — page 79 42 Read SI DIGITAL •NEWBUSINESSYEARSUPERISSUE2012

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