Sales of accessories and gun-care products follow firearm sales. And since every customer who buys a gun needs gun-care products, this is a must-carry category for retailers looking for repeat sales.
Michael Hutchings is the sales manager for AmChar Wholesale and has observed the saturation of the gun-care market with oils and products.
"Traditionally, we had just a few manufacturers," he said. "Now there are just so many I can't even mention them all. In the past, Hoppe's was the number-one product, and it's still one of the more popular ones. But now you've got Otis, FrogLube, Birchwood Casey, Break Free and the list goes on and on."
As the firearms industry has grown in recent years, Hutchings noted accessories and gun-care products have grown right along with it.
"Now there are specific products for MSRs, and they're marketed toward that platform of firearms," he shared. "Otis does a really good job. They're one of the larger government facilitators, and they have a lot of government contracts. Typically with anything in the firearms industry there's a trickle-down effect: Something starts with what the military uses and it trickles down to law enforcement, which then trickles down to the general consumer."
Social media has played a huge role in what customers demand, he said.
"As far as marketing is concerned, social media has completely changed the game," Hutchings expressed. "People who have a very strong social media presence are the ones who are really thriving right now."
OLD AND NEW OPTIONS
JP Parkerson is the manager of the Palm Beach Shooting Center in Lake Worth, Fla. He said customers have been asking for Lucas Oil gun cleaning products recently.
"It's a good product, but what's driving the requests is their marketing," he stated. "They spend a lot on marketing, and every new gun from American Tactical comes with a sample of Lucas Oil. They have a full line of grease, oil, lubricant, cleaner and solvent."
Customers also buy a lot of Hoppe's No. 9, Parkerson said.
"It's always been a staple for us," he added. "Remington Rem Oil is the other thing our customers always buy. Those are our three major sellers. Hoppe's has been around so long it's been known in the industry forever, and the old timers who are set in their ways won't try anything new--they stick with Hoppe's."
At a recent AmChar Wholesale show, Parkerson purchased a full-range package of Lucas Oil gun cleaning products.