Firsthand Experience Guides Sportsmen’s Brand Buying Decisions



FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. — When it comes to purchasing goods from a particular brand, both hunters and anglers overwhelmingly agree that their personal experience using a company’s products, more than any other factor, influences their decision on whether to buy future items under the same brand name. Asked by and to check all of the considerations that go into making such purchase decisions, 80.6 percent of hunters and 77.1 percent of anglers cited firsthand experience with a brand as a key factor.

The next two most common influencing factors were brand loyalty, which suggests previous use of and familiarity with a particular brand as well, and the opinions of other experienced sportsmen. Just over 54 percent of hunters cited brand loyalty and 53.7 percent cited “another experienced hunter,” while 55.2 percent of anglers pointed to brand loyalty and 54.3 percent chose “another experienced angler.”

“What this tells us is that the old marketing forces of a consumer’s positive past experiences with a brand and ‘word-of-mouth’ recommendations from trusted friends experienced in their same pursuits are still very much at work,” said Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates, which designs and conducts the surveys at and “It’s important to note that sportsmen are very brand loyal consumers. If they buy a company’s products and like them, many of them will make future purchases of that same brand.”

Interestingly, despite the common perception of numerous media insiders that magazines have lost their influence in this digital age, both hunters and anglers cited print publications as having more sway over their buying decisions than either television or websites. Magazine articles and advertisements factored into the brand buying decisions of 25.1 percent of hunters and 24.3 percent of anglers. That was followed in order by website articles (22.8 and 16.7 percent), television shows or commercials (10.4 and 12.9 percent), internet advertising (3.6 and 3.3 percent) and lastly radio (1.1 and 1 percent).

Additional factors in choosing to purchase a particular brand cited by less than 14 percent of both hunting and angling survey respondents included professional endorsements, seeing the brand’s products at an outdoor expo or show and as the suggestion of a store salesperson. In fact, a salesperson knowledgeable about a particular brand can impact a sporting consumers decision to buy as much as 11 percent of the time.

It is important to note that various forms of advertising frequently interact, with the more effective strategies using multiple channels to reach consumers and employing each channel’s strengths to increase consumer awareness of a brand and its benefits.

“Despite what sportsmen tell us, a good advertising strategy will often influence consumers in subtle ways. People may not always realize which factors came together to influence their buying decisions,” Southwick says.

Those who hunt, fish and target shoot are invited to participate in the surveys conducted on and Each month, participants who complete the survey are entered into a drawing for one of five $100 gift certificates to the sporting goods retailer of their choice.

About and Launched in 2006, and help the outdoor equipment industry, government fisheries and wildlife officials and conservation organizations track consumer activities and expenditure trends. The information above represents only a small sample of the vast amount of data collected from the complete survey results and available to government agencies, businesses, the media and other interested parties. Results are scientifically analyzed to reflect the attitudes and habits of anglers and hunters across the United States.


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