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Shooting Industry November 2012 - Page 35

Overlooked Market Segment Offers Enticing Profit Margins aximizing profits for your business means staying ahead of the competition, analyzing the latest trends and tapping into niche markets — like airguns and airsoft. Steve Upham, vice president of sales for Crosman, believes many dealers snub the airgun and airsoft markets because of misconceptions about the products. “Dealers would be shocked by the performance of today’s airguns,” Upham said. “They’re letting perceptions of the airgun market from their youth make their decisions for them. They think airguns are Red Ryders or pump guns. That’s not the case anymore.” Indeed, the airgun and airsoft markets tend to follow the trends of the firearms industry. Because tactical is hot in the gun market, dealers will see numerous tactical-style airguns available. This fashion-forward trend means airgun and airsoft customers are already shopping at your store, Upham said, a fact he tries to emphasize to dealers who may be wary about jumping into a new market. “That’s the biggest misconception with dealers — that the airgun and airsoft customer isn’t shopping,” Upham said. The truth is, Upham points out, many firearms enthusiasts are equally interested in airguns and airsoft. Both markets are growing at a very healthy clip, and the adult airAirgun ammo and accessories experience 50- to 65-percent profit margins. Daisy PrecisionMax .177-caliber pellets are ideal for pest control and small game. M By J.K. Autry gun business is particularly profitable. “There’s good growth in the adult airgun business, which is really where most of the market’s growth has come from in the last five years,” Upham said. “These are customers who want an airgun with enough power to kill rodents and other large pests.” The airsoft market also continues to grow well, especially in higher-performance models that command a higher price tag. “As players become more experienced and knowledgeable about performance, they’re looking for better-quality guns,” Upham said. While the airgun and airsoft markets are performing well, Upham knows many dealers are concerned about competing with Internet sales and big-box stores, both of which typically dominate sales in these categories. But Upham said the secret to seeing top profit margins lies in selling accessories. “The profitability on the ammo and The Talon SS from AirForce Airguns is available in .25, .22, .20 and .177 caliber in a variety of finishes. NOVEMBER 2012 35 Profit Power

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