Energized Buyers Spark Enthusiasm At Mega Trade Show.
“Enthusiastic” may not do justice in describing the 2012 SHOT Show, which attracted a record number of attendees at the January mega-event in Las Vegas. The NSSF-owned show benefited from energized buyers, motivated by impressive economy-defying sales in 2011, capped by extraordinary holiday buying in retail stores across the nation.
“We had our best-ever year in 2011. We’ve started off this year great, and expect to be up,” said Todd Vance, president of Vance Outdoors in Columbus, Ohio.
“Our industry appears to be very strong right now, and the pace at the show almost felt ‘frantic.’ We believe a good part of that will flow into the buying patterns for the year,” said Frank Brownell, CEO of Brownells.
“It’s a wonderful time to be in our industry. We’ve seen tremendous enthusiasm on the part of sellers and buyers, and we see the prospect of a very good year ahead,” said Sandy Chisholm, North American Arms president.
“We are grateful and proud that our industry has helped maintain jobs from the manufacturer through retail levels during these difficult economic times. We see no reason why this won’t continue during 2012,” said Steve Sanetti, NSSF president and CEO.
More than 61,000 attended the show at the Sands Expo and Convention Center Jan. 17-20, with representation from all 50 states and 100 countries.
In addition to establishing an overall attendance record, the show posted new records for buyers at 36,383 and media at 2,466. More than 1,600 exhibitors presented their products and services, covering 630,000 square feet of the convention center.
During the four days of the show, exhibitors reported heavy traffic and high enthusiasm.
“Traffic is like we’ve never seen it before. Retailers we’ve talked to are expecting a record year,” said Mark Malkowski, Stag Arms president.
“The market is fantastic. We’re selling more holsters and other accessories than we ever have in our 43-year history,” said Mike Barham of Galco Gunleather.
“The show was fantastic. For Kimber, it’s the best SHOT Show we’ve ever had, with a phenomenal response to all our products. The market is incredibly strong right now,” said Dwight Van Brunt, Kimber vice president of trade relations.
SIG SAUER reported having its best first day at SHOT since the company began keeping sales records.
“The market is stimulated. First-time buyers, that’s where the expansion is coming from,” said Bud Fini, SIG SAUER vice president of marketing.
“There’s a lot of enthusiasm from dealers here. They tell us the market is up, and they’re pleased to see Colt offering new guns, along with our traditional lineup. The message we’re sending is Colt is back, the legend continues,” said Mike Guerra, Colt’s Manufacturing marketing manager.
“This is about as much excitement as I’ve seen at a SHOT Show. People are buying optimistically, and we’re going to build optimistically,” said Tom Taylor, Mossberg vice president of marketing.
First-time exhibitor U.S. RAC rated SHOT Show 2012 as very valuable.
“When you are a start-up company without a big marketing budget, the SHOT Show helps put you in front of the right audience,” said Jeane Stewart of U.S. RAC, maker of firearm safety products for law enforcement.
Story By Russ Thurman
Photos By Jade Molde
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