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Shooting Industry November 2011 Digital Edition - Page 35

HOT AIR By J.K. Autry Want Higher Margins? Sell Airguns & Airsoft! SALES A s the economy continues to drag down consumer spending, dealers are examining all untapped markets to increase — or maintain — their profit margins. Dealers may not consider the airgun and airsoft markets worthy of their attention, but these strong and rapidly growing markets merit consideration. Richard Turner, Umarex USA vice president of sales and marketing, believes firearms dealers who aren’t taking advantage of these markets are making a costly mistake. “I think some dealers have realized they’ve got the clientele for these products, and the products offer a much stronger margin,” Turner said. “You can sell an airgun for between $200 and $400 dollars, and you’re making 35 to 45 points on margin — whereas, you’re making much less on a firearm.” In addition to the high profit margins, dealers already have a built-in customer base. Turner says Umarex considers “the airgun side of the business as part of the shooting sports industry,” pointing out many firearms enthusiasts already shoot airguns. “Because of the cost of ammunition, guys who really like to shoot on a regular basis will buy a CO2 airgun pistol because it gives them an economical way to keep up their shooting skills and have fun,” Turner said. Umarex offers price points ranging from $130 for an air rifle, to $600 and $700 for a “high-end precision” airgun. This gives dealers an opportunity to meet the needs of a variety of customers, providing a chance to get involved in the growing Built-In Customer Base airgun and airsoft markets. Dealers who are already successful with handgun sales will naturally do well with CO2 action pellet pistols, which are even cheaper than air rifles, Turner says. CO2 pistols run as low as $49.95 MSRP. “It’s a logical option for dealers to offer because they already have a good customer base who likes to shoot handguns,” Turner said. Offering airguns is also an excellent way to introduce new shooters to the sport, Turner says. Airsoft accomplishes the same goal, as it’s geared toward youth and gaming, and has overtaken paintball in some parts of the country. “Airguns offer a SI DIGITAL VIDEO bridge to consumers who are unfamiliar with shoot- Umarex USA’s advertisements prompt interaction with ing sports,” Turner said. consumers. The company uses QR codes to link smartphone “It’s a great way to get in- users to its website for more information, including product volved at an economical videos. SI Digital readers, click the “Video” tag to view videos. NOVEMBER 2011 35

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