Yes, I saw that NICS checks hit an all-time record on Black Friday this year, but given the deals that were out there, like $250 Bushmaster AR’s and free tax stamps on some suppressors, I’d be surprised if there WASN’T a run on guns this year.
But are profits up in the firearms industry? Well, no. Ruger’s profits are down, sales at Smith and Wesson are slowing, and Remington is an a world of hurt. Pretty much the entire firearms industry bet on a Hillary Clinton win last year, and now channels are overstuffed with distributors urgently trying to get rid of merchandise and gun store owners looking at even-tighter margins on guns.
What happens when things get back to “normal” and AR’s are no longer selling for two and a half bills? What happens when the driving force behind firearms purchases isn’t price or availability of product? From 2007 to 2016, gun sales were easy: All you needed to say was “It’s in stock,” and it sold, and this year, sales were driven on price and pent-up demand from the Obama years.
What happens next year, when features and perceived value drive demand, and gun companies are forced to move product with marketing?
Do they even remember how to do that?
And yes, a good portion of this post is based on a conversation I had with Michael Bane late last week. I’m not being lazy, I’m recycling and re-purposing content from another medium! So there!