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Targeting a new market for firearms.

Women as targets! Not as targets for handgun practice although most husbands probably harbor a thought like this from time to time) but women as targets for handgun marketing and sales. The female market is growing quickly, and if you don't become a part of it soon, you may be left behind.

Nationwide gun purchases have reportedly risen approximately 40 percent, with much of this increase attributed to women buyers. The surge in demand for weapons by women is corollary to new statistics which show that crimes against women have increased dramatically. Many social commentators attribute this upswing to factors such as television violence depicting women as victims, "slasher" and serial killer movies, novels like American Psycho (in which a young investment banker and Harvard graduate brutally rapes and murders women in his spare time), and graphic descriptions of rape and brutality in rock music lyrics.

According to recent Bureau of Justice records, three out of four American women will, at some time, be victims of at least one violent crime in their lifetimes. Each year approximately 2.5 million women are victims of assault, rape, or robbery. With the rising numbers of unreported domestic violence incidents, experts say this is a low figure.

In years past, criminal cases involving the robbery of women rarely involved physical injury when the women submitted to the demands of the criminal. More recent cases show women are frequently injured even after submitting to the criminal's demands.

Add to all of these gruesome statistics the fact that women are generally perceived by criminals to be unarmed, easy prey and you'll see why so many women - even some of the estimated 6.5 million elderly women who live alone - are getting the message loud and clear: Obtain a weapon for a fighting chance. Market Statistics Tell The Tale

Further evidence of this trend is the success and acclaim of Women & Guns magazine, published by the Second Amendment Foundation, which answers the demand for firearms reading material for both the female self defense and sporting shooters. Also, Smith & Wesson launched its Ladysmith handgun line in 1989 and the market response has been tremendous. Both of these products are being aggressively marketed to women, and with good reason.

Women in large numbers are showing a distinct interest in obtaining some real firepower to have at the ready along with their Mace, battery-powered alarms, and self-defense training. Savvy dealers are cashing in.

Marketing and selling firearms to women is vastly different than selling to men. The majority of men have been educated in the care, handling and selection of firearms from an early age by their fathers, progressing upward from air rifles and .22s.

Most women have never had training or experience of this type, and if they don't have a husband or boyfriend to advise them in a gun purchase, the seller must provide the necessary customer service in order to make the initial sale.

Here are some marketing basics to consider when dealing with female gun buyers:

Treat women customers with respect and patience.

Most women will not know what questions to ask about a firearm and will appreciate information on its features, characteristics, accessories, ammunition, warranties, and upkeep. It is important for clerks to be knowledgeable in the lines of weaponry carried.

Provide resource information about

firearms instruction, safety courses,

and target ranges in your area.

Women know that in order to defend themselves they must buy a gun, but they may not know much more than that. Like any consumer, a women is hesitant to spend nearly $500 on something which will do nothing but sit in a drawer for most of its existence. When you explain the number of non-self-defense related activities for which they can use their firearm target shooting, competition, sporting clays, or hunting - they are much more likely to buy.

Offer written materials about guns,

gun safety, and self defense.

Since most women know very little about firearms, they are hungry for information about this new field; they want to be informed consumers. By selling books and magazines about guns, or by giving away free brochures regarding self defense, you make your store much more accessible to the female market.

* Experiment with advertising aimed

directly at the female consumer,

including some price-oriented


Break into this growing market and build a customer base before your competitors! Commercial account representatives at local newspapers may have enough marketing expertise to offer helpful suggestions. One gun dealer that had placed a promotional ad for a special Ladies' Day was virtually mobbed by women who came into his store. Not only did they purchase guns on the day of the sale, but his sales remained high for several days thereafter.

Remember, as with any successful sale of a product or service, the central focus must be on the customers' needs in this case the woman's. The dealer who is successful in capturing his share of the female market will be sensitive to their rather special requirements and will in turn reap the profits.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Publishers' Development Corporation
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:women buyers
Author:Wenner, Joan
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:Jan 1, 1992
Previous Article:Ruger's first .45.
Next Article:Women shooters & the NRA.

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