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

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

U.S.A.-( 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 [email protected], or Nancy Bacon, Vice President of Southwick Associates at [email protected]

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.