People have probably been competing against each other by throwing axes for as long as the tool has been around. In and of itself, it really isn’t anything new at all. For instance, some version of axe throwing has been a part of reenactor gatherings, mountain man events, and timber sports (lumberjack competitions) for decades. In recent years, though, axe throwing has stuck itself into the urban bar scene. There are hundreds of axe throwing venues across Canada, Europe, Australia, and the US, and their number continues to grow.
"This is a new market that is DOUBLING every year."
For the outdoor retailer, this presents a huge sales opportunity. As more and more people are taking up the sport, they discover that what started as a different kind of night out turns out to be something fun to do at home. They are setting up axe throwing ranges in their backyards. Consumers spent more than $6 million on axe throwing experiences in 2019 — a +317% increase in sales compared to 2018!
Axe throwing is growing rapidly; ESPN televised the national championship and clubs are appearing in unexpected places. Axes and tomahawks have gone mainstream. There are two major organizations for axe throwers. The World Axe Throwing League’s (WATL) website states that it has 334 affiliated clubs all over the world. The International Axe Throwing Federation (IATF) boasts of 58 member organizations throughout 125 cities in 6 countries.
What are the opportunities for outdoor dealers?
First, there are the potential sales of axes. WOOX has its Volante axe, which is particularly suited to the sport. Its weight is overall weight is 1.7lbs, with a 1.3lb head. The tempered carbon steel head has a 4” blade. Its overall length is 14”. This makes it compliant with IATF competition requirements. Its perfect balance makes it a natural thrower, as well.
But axes aren’t the only things people will need when they want to set up their ranges. An astute retailer will offer target build kits, preassembled targets, target stands, scoreboards, premade scoresheets, and replacement axe handles. These types of merchandise generate continuing sales for the retailer.
An even more astute merchant will stage other merchandise in their displays to take advantage of axe throwing’s rising star. Flannel shirts, wool beanies, work boots, leather gloves, wooden and/or leather beer mugs, and outdoor furniture (especially log furniture). Additionally, any other item even tangentially related to logging, lumberjacks or axes can be marketed to the backyard thrower as accessories to axe throwing.
The sales opportunities that accompany backyard axe throwing are only limited by the retailer’s imagination. By offering a quality axe to the consumer (WOOX would be happy to supply the axes and replacement parts for them), coupled with the support merchandise to go with it, a retailer can generate steady sales and develop loyal return customers.
Be sure to visit our booth at Outdoor Retailer Show, #40087/UL- we look forward to talking with you!
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