The 2014 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade(SHOT) Show wrapped up last Friday and by all accounts the industry appears very upbeat and poised for another good sales year. In fact, if statistics prove anything, the 2014 show was a record breaker with over 5,000 more attendees than last year—totalling over 67,000 people representing over 100 different countries.
All numbers aside, for me the show didn’t offer up anything revolutionary when it comes to new outdoors or shooting products. Oh, sure, just about every product manufacturer has something new as part of their marketing hype. They have to. This is where the new sales season begins. But more so than other years where folks would clamor to a handful of booths to touch and feel some fantastic new product offerings, it seemed the marketing hysteria was pretty evenly spread throughout the show in 2014.
And that’s a good thing. Everyone was receiving attention. Well, almost everyone. I still shake my head at seeing one exhibitor who came to the show sporting a new line of wrist rockets. Yup, that’s right…nothing more than a souped up slingshot capable of taking out a neighbor’s window from 200 yards away. As I walked by the booth I couldn’t help but shake my head wondering how many beers were consumed prior to the decision of “let’s take this concept to the SHOT Show.”
Oh, there was the other booth that sold, among other things, a camouflaged pen. Yes, who walking out of the show wouldn’t want a ballpoint pen decked out in some digital camo pattern? Better add a camo notebook to that order. As I picked the pen up to observe its manufacture quality I asked the fella behind the booth…”A camo pen?” He looked at me with no response, but apparently untrusting that I might take the pen. I set it back down and walked away. Again, shaking my head wondering deeper about the marketing potential of this item and product line.
Yet, SHOT 2014 was certainly not all about the oddball. You’re bound to get that when you have 1,600+ vendors showcasing their products. Instead, this year’s SHOT felt more like a celebration of what we all enjoy. In particular, it is encouraging to see how new shooters and women are being welcomed into the mix with new product offerings. And why not, this growing segment of outdoors enthusiasts represents one of the fastest growing demographics within our shooting and hunting ranks. My guess is they are also some of the highest spenders as they are the ones needing new equipment.
I’ve said it before if you want the hard hitting SHOT product coverage this is not the blog to follow. I suggest you follow my friends over at AmmoLand.com for that sort of hoopla. In fact, while you’re at it sign-up for their Daily Digest to keep you up on all the news of the industry almost as quickly as it happens. They do awesome work and my buddy, Fredy Riehl, who edits it is a great guy to boot!
In conclusion, I came home from SHOT having only made one product purchase. The product that intrigued me? None other than a game camera made by Cuddeback. It wasn’t so much how the camera has outstanding new capabilities or any unique feature. I bought it because I got to put the order on my buddy’s credit card. That’s right…it’s always more fun to spend someone else’s money when buying new products for yourself.
©2014 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.