Hunting on the Upswing
“If it’s brown, it’s down!” used to carry a fairly “Hatfield and McCoy” / “Jed Clampett” feel, and growing up in Northern New England, the sight of a whitetail deer in the back of a pickup was a pretty common scene come November. Having lived in large, coastal cities for the past couple of decades, I’ve not witnessed much of that, but a closer look at the sport and hunting industry reveals a vibrant arena. The U.S. hunting industry grew from $23.3 billion in 2012 to approximately $27.4 billion in 2017.
Driving this growth are a couple of dynamics:
- Female hunters – while perhaps not the image that first comes to mind when picturing someone clad in bright orange wool and traipsing through the woods, the population of female hunters grew a remarkable 83% for the last ten or so years.
- Millennials desire to be outdoors, to live healthy and balanced lives, and to consume whole foods where they understand the origin (“clean label”). These objectives have resulted in growth in what is now America’s largest, and increasingly, most influential cohort, with eight of ten “echo boomers” now expressing desire to participate.
Private equity has taken notice as well, with numerous investments having transpired over the recent past. In addition, several large holding company participants are eager and aggressive to acquire innovative, authentic brands in the hunting accessories space.
So the next time your friendly neighbor offers to bring you a homecooked meal, you may find yourself picking buckshot out of your teeth by virtue of an incredibly simplified supply chain!