The Hickory Group released one of their Flash Reports yesterday and it confirmed something I’ve felt to be true about today’s modern firearms owners: they’re not only getting younger, they’re increasingly female.
Their report cites Pew Research, the Center for American Progress and other think tankers as it points out that 42% of today’s households have women as the primary breadwinners. And in those households, a large majority of them have firearms.
In fact, Pew reports that 40% of U.S. Women have firearms in their households. Meaning: women by the millions have joined the firearms industry without a specific advertising/marketing focus to bring them in.
Truth is, it might be more accurately stated that despite industry efforts, women have come into the gun culture. In an industry where “paint it pink” is considered groundbreaking outreach, we’re fortunate women haven’t decided that rather than become firearms owners they’d just put their collective minds to work designing something better for personal protection.
Hickory’s research also points out some things we should all consider on the eve of the largest confabulation of gun enthusiasts on planet earth -the NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits.
The industry needs to focus on handgun accessories and safety courses tailored to women breadwinners. If we address those items, women will respond.
Retailers - virtual and analog- need to adjust the way they go after female customers. Here’s the reasoning: the women have come voluntarily, they don’t need to be sold on why they need a gun. Instead, they need to be “engaged and treated as if she were walking into a Starbucks or an Apple Store.”
In other words, greeted warmly, treated respectfully and invited into the community. That, perhaps more than anything is the biggest challenge the industry will face. “Well, hello, little lady…” just won’t cut it anymore. Neither will telling them what they want - having seen those examples face-to-face on more than one occasion in ‘way more than one place, I know it will be a difficult thing for some retailers to embrace.
Here’s a simple fact: the retailers that don’t wise up and change their attitudes will find themselves wondering why they’re not growing. That’s because the fastest growing segments of today’s gun culture are sophisticated shoppers who will have done plenty of homework before they walk (purposefully) through your doors.
They, as Hickory Group so aptly puts it, have “walked through the firearm industry’s door and sat down for coffee. It’s the firearms industry’s job to make sure she’s offered a full menu of options.”
Ignore them at your own peril.