Editor’s Note: This is information produced by the National Shooting Sports Foundation for hunting and shooting industry leaders to consider. Rather than paraphrase the information and potentially miss important facts, we have included the message in full. The Hispanic community is an important part of the American population and an area for potential growth in the number of firearm enthusiasts.
According to the NSSF study, many Latinos have a favorable view of firearms and would be interested in shooting more often—if they were invited by someone to go. Experienced shooters would do well to invite friends, family, and neighbors to the gun range to create a positive impression of gun culture and spread the enjoyment of the Second Amendment.
Continuing its reputation for producing a long line of quality research reports available to NSSF business members and industry professionals, NSSF’s newest report, A Hispanic Market Study: Firearms and the Shooting Sports, presents a significant opportunity for industry to increase diversity among hunting and shooting sports participants and for growth.
Stats You Can Use
This study clearly shows the immense growth potential represented by the Hispanic market. Our research revealed that nearly one out of every five Americans is Hispanic. About two-thirds of those are also natural-born Americans who have a higher level of education and income potential than Hispanics or other immigrants who are less familiar with American language and culture. Currently, the Hispanic population is estimated to be 57 million strong and carrying $825 billion in U.S. consumer buying power, an economic impact that is expected to grow to $1 trillion by the year 2019.
The 1,264 Hispanics who participated in this survey indicated a high level of interest in firearms usage and ownership: 30 percent overall would like to own a firearm and 40 percent would go to a gun store or a range if invited by friends or family to take a training class or obtain instruction. Of those surveyed who said they’d previously visited a shooting range or firearms retailer, a remarkable 91 percent said they came away with a positive impression, and the top two reasons for those impressions were listed as having had their experience both in a safe and controlled environment and one that was assisted by knowledgeable staff. The atmosphere, of course, should always be friendly and inviting.
Interestingly, language does not appear to be a barrier. In fact, the majority of Hispanics surveyed (79 percent) indicated a preference for obtaining information about firearms in English. This is very helpful, of course, to retail owners and staff who only speak English, but it is important to note that culture can be a barrier. “Culture,” defined as familiar references to the mother country and the comfort of those regional images and family traditions, is very important to Hispanics. Anticipate that it will be equally important for you to know your local Hispanic demographic—the culture of Mexican Hispanics differs greatly from those with Cuban, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Salvadoran and other Spanish-language lands—in order to successfully craft messaging and use appropriate imagery that will appeal to the local Hispanic population.
“Excellent communications with target audiences always have universally understood messages,” said Rick Tobin, owner and CEO of Tobintel, the U.S.-based market research firm that created this report in conjunction with NSSF. “When marketing messages or imagery are not understood or related to by the target audience, the normal human reaction is to reject the marketer at some level. This alienation of a target audience is fairly easy to do in any target market when assumptions are not well founded.
“In the Hispanic market, for example, references to Mexican history or culture may not play particularly well to Hispanics from South America or the Caribbean. Likewise, soccer analogies may not play well to audiences of Caribbean ancestry, while baseball references may not be understood among Mexican or South American Hispanics. Of course, Spanish slang varies from country to country of ancestry, just as does the use of English in different parts of the U.S. Finally, the use of “cutesy” phrases that sound good but are not universally understood should be avoided in English or in Spanish.”
This doesn’t mean you need to have a Ph.D. in Hispanic cultural studies, but you will want to do some easy research on your own area to discover those cultures that are represented in your community and discover the differences in what is important to each. A few clicks through the U.S. Census Bureau website can provide some drilldown, and a quick phone call to community support groups and departments of tourism can yield some fast numbers that allow you as a retailer to better understand the makeup of the population in your area.
In Tune With Wildlife Agencies
This special study further explores preferences and comfort levels on a variety of topics. Two noteworthy discoveries were that 61 percent of Hispanics are aware of their state wildlife agency, and 82 percent have a very positive image of that agency. These figures imply a positive opinion regarding outdoor activities in general and an opportunity to coordinate outreach efforts with your state’s wildlife agency.
Best Growth Opportunities
Five states report the highest Hispanic populations, representing approximately 70 percent of the total U.S. Hispanic population segment. They are California, Texas, Florida, New York and Illinois. Additionally, projected population estimates for the year 2020 indicate that 30 to 40 percent of the state populations in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado will be Hispanic. Any of these states should be prime locations to diversify, either through development or expanded marketing and advertising outreach directed toward the Hispanic cultures present in those states.
Where to Find the Report
This new report is based on a survey conducted by Tobinel in April 2015. Survey participants were only those who were of Hispanic origin or descent and, additionally, who were 21 years of age or older at the time of the survey interview. The survey was made available to responders in both English and Spanish.
A Hispanic Market Study: Firearms and the Shooting Sports is full of powerful insights and is available as a member benefit to NSSF business members as a free PDF file download through the member shopping cart. Non-members may purchase the report by visiting www.nssf.org/research and clicking on the “Research Reports” menu. For more information on NSSF’s many research efforts, including Customized Market Reports that retailers can use to evaluate area demographics for use in planning startup enterprises and expanding established businesses, visit www.nssf.org/research.
Cover image courtesy of NSSF