Gun sales in the US have taken a dip following a post-pandemic surge, with July 2023 sales estimated at 1.19 million, down 17% from the previous year. Despite this decline, the gun industry remains profitable as manufacturers adapt to changing consumer demands.
Companies in the gun market are responding to reduced demand by slowing down production and reducing prices. New gun ownership rates hit a remarkable 21 million in 2020 during the peak of the pandemic. However, the numbers fell to 16.4 million in 2022. Industry leaders like Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger & Company have reported declines in sales but express confidence in their business models.
The gun industry is embracing new trends in order to attract consumers. One notable development is the rise of smart guns, which incorporate advanced technology and safety features such as facial recognition and fingerprint verification. Biofire Technologies is set to release its smart gun, which is the first of its kind and will be available at a retail price ranging from $1,499 to $1,899.
In addition, gun manufacturers are exploring the use of lightweight materials like polymer to create slimmer, more durable, and cheaper firearms. The popularity of red dot sights, which project a small light directly onto a target, has also surged among consumers, particularly those with visual impairments.
Furthermore, the demographics of gun ownership are undergoing a shift as a result of the pandemic-era sales boom. More diverse groups are now becoming gun owners, challenging the stereotype that gun owners are predominantly older white men. Between January 2019 and April 2021, half of the 7.5 million first-time gun buyers were female, while a fifth were Black and Hispanic individuals.
One of the driving factors behind the increased gun purchases is the growing sense of insecurity and instability, particularly during the pandemic. Many Americans are turning to firearms for self-protection. Additionally, the industry anticipates a potential surge in demand during the upcoming 2024 presidential election.
Despite the current decline in sales, the gun industry is confident in its ability to rebound. With new technological advancements and a more diverse customer base, gun manufacturers remain profitable and are adapting to meet changing consumer demands.