Where's the ammo?
If you’re wondering where all the ammo is, and heard all the stories and rumors, ammunition makers say they are running at capacity and never, ever experienced this much of an increase in ammo sales.
It’s attributed in a large part they say, to first time gun buyers who crave ammo for range shooting and that number reached over 8 million in gun sales in 2020 and to date. And because of unrest in parts of the country and the current government administration pushing for gun control and the crazy defund police movement, gun buyers are hoarding ammo in case they may need it. Then there are those who buy as much as they can to re-sell it at ridiculous prices (price gouging).
So, what does the future of ammo look like for the remainder of 2021? The following was released by Southwick Associates who do annual surveys and extensive research on topics related to the fishing, shooting, outdoor retailer industry. The following is their outlook as to what the next months may bring.
Southwick says, 2020’s uncertainties boosted ammunition demand to record levels. Going forward, the question within the trade is “how long is current demand sustainable?”. To help provide insights, Southwick Associates polled the market.
In April 2021, Southwick surveyed hunters, recreational shooters, and firearm owners and found 72% had purchased ammunition within the past 12 months. Based on more than 1,800 responses, their feedback includes:
* Out of stock issues in 2020 and continuing into 2021 have caused 50% of hunters and target shooters to cancel or reduce the amount of target shooting and hunting activities they normally would have engaged in:
In 2020, four out of five encountered out of stock issues when trying to purchase ammunition.
o Three-fourths tried to purchase ammunition during the first quarter of 2021 but encountered out of stock situations.
* Expect ammunition demand to remain high: Nearly 2/3 indicate their current ammunition inventory is lower than they would prefer (64%).
o When asked how much more ammunition they would like to have on hand, 43% reported much more while 38% reported a little more. 17% were satisfied with the amounts they had on hand.
* When asked why they desire more ammunition, responses include: Uncertainty about future ammunition supplies (72%). This is especially true among consumers 45+ years of age.
o Uncertainty about future restrictions on ammunition purchases (70%)
o Uncertainty about future economic conditions (54%)
o Wanting to participate in hunting and target shooting more often (26%). This was more common among younger consumers.
When will demand soften? Certainly, at some point it will. However, the frenzied purchasing often feeds further increases in demand. Considering ammunition manufacturers still have significant backorders, and considering Southwick does not see demand softening at least through the second quarter of 2021, the ammunition shortages should at least continue through the second quarter of 2021 and for most of the year.
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Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.