Sports participation in the United States is in a flux. Sports that were once largely ignored in the country – soccer is a great example – are on the rise in participation, spectatorship and television viewing. The reasons likely have something to do with America’s changing demographics.
Today, there are about 57 million people in the U.S. of Hispanic heritage, a number that is larger than the entire populations of most European nations. American Latinos hold more economic and voting power, and they represent a larger share of sports participants and entertainment customers. For some sports that are seeing their popularity wane among more traditional participants, reaching out to the Latino market is proving to be lucrative.
A recent report commissioned by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and conducted by TOBINTEL found that there is an opportunity to attract a new and passionate constituency to the shooting sports. While a report commissioned by the NSSF six years ago found that modern sporting rifle users were 86 percent white, Hispanic/Latinos were the next largest ethnic group at five percent. This figure would appear to be on the rise.
“The Hispanic segment in the U.S. is a highly relevant, dynamic and multifaceted market, and this study helps manufacturers, retailers and ranges understand the strong interest that Hispanics have to learn about firearms, own them and participate in shooting sports,” said Rick Tobin of TOBINTEL.
This may represent a change in fortunes for the sport shooting industry from previous years. Another NSSF from last year found that while 45 percent of black, 51 percent of Hispanic and 39 percent of Asian respondents said they had firearms in their homes, these groups were very underrepresented in shooting sports programs and on shooting ranges.
The new report, entitled “A Hispanic Market Study Firearms and the Shooting Sports,” found that 72 percent of Hispanic respondents reported participating in outdoor recreation such as camping, boating, hiking, golfing or fishing in the past year, and that 41 percent of respondents had been to a shooting range. An additional 40 percent of those who have never been to a range said they would consider going. More than half of the respondents -- 54 percent – said they would go to a range on an invitation from friends or family, while 42 percent of respondents would take a training class or get instruction. Of the Hispanics surveyed, 18 percent reported owning a firearm, and an additional 25 percent said they would like to own a firearm in the future. Desire to own a firearm in the future is strong, at 27 percent, among Hispanic women.
Translated into dollars, it’s easy to see why marketing shooting sports to Hispanics is of interest to the market: Hispanics currently wield buying power of more than $825 billion, quickly approaching $1 trillion, according to the NSSF. To try and attract more non-traditional demographics to ranges, the Foundation advises ranges to reach out to a more diverse pool of participants and create an environment that welcomes new shooters.