Saturday, December 19, 2009

Big Box Stores dropping Paintball?

Baca Loco on VFTD ( in his latest post says that “paintball sales in all the box stores has declined in recent years and is losing shelf space everywhere”. Apparently WalMart is phasing paintball out of their line-up altogether. I don’t know if that is true, but Loco’s sources are usually pretty good.

I would assume that this is due to first time players not getting excited about paintball and not planning on returning for a second outing. I know over the years, I’ve had many players that were so excited about their first time playing, by the end of the day they were asking where they could buy their own gear. I didn’t send them to WalMart (sorry Sam Walton), but I did give them advice on where to go. But I’m sure there are lots of people that have a great time on their first outing and do go to places like WalMart to buy their first set of equipment.

I wonder if WalMart has put 2 plus 2 together and realizes that the cheap paint they are selling is a big reason people are not having fun on their first visit and therefore not buying their first set of equipment from WalMart? Probably not. Let’s face it, they are not going to put that much thought into the problem.


  1. NOt sure what the effect ofn the sport this would be.

  2. Apparently some paintball manufacturers, like JT for instance, sell a lot of product through WalMart. These sales will be lost. There will be one side that will say that those sales will now go to paintball stores, where the new paintballers will get better service and advice.

    Others will say that the drop in sales will mean less people will buy their first marker at all, because they don;t go into paintball stores but may be induced to impulse buy a marker at WalMart.

    Yet others will say that less this will lead to less paintball vandalism.

    These arguments are all true to some degree. But how will a company like JT handle the drop in sales. Will they be able to survive the loss in revenue?

    Will it mean that we will have less people playing paintball overall?

    In my opinion, it will definiitely hurt the overall industry side of paintball. Specialized paintball stores will pick up some of those sales, which is good. But how many of those people that buy their first marker at WalMart end up regular customers at their local paintball stores for upgrades and second and third markers? How many of those future sales will be lost? Time will tell.

  3. You would be amazed at just HOW MUCH thought Wal Mart puts into their business is actually pretty scarry. I can guarentee you that whatever they have decided, they have analyzed it 10,000 times over and 500 different ways. As a vendor who has tried to sell to them, they know their stuff usually as good or better than the people trying to sell to them.

    To them a decision like this is a "big picture" decision that is solely based upon 1 thing and 1 thing only: profit.

    Does the shelf space dedicated to paint ball make us $? Does the extra insurance to sell this stuff cost us more than it makes us? What could we put in that shelf space that would sell faster and bring in more return customers? And and on and on.

    I personally want paintball OUT of Wal Mart 100%, hopefully this will bring more customers back to the local fields/stores to buy their supplies.

  4. I agree that Walmart surely analyzes their decisions with great detail. But they are going to analyze it on the basis of how it will affect their bottom line. I doubt very much that Walmart has ever given a thought about how their sales of paintball gear affect the paintball industry as a whole. They just wouldn't care. They care about what products they can stock to make them profit.

    I'm not convinced taking paintball out of Walmart is going to affect the industry as a whole particularly well. How many people roaming the sporting goods section of Walmart are going to see paintball gear for the first time? How many people are going to see it and be reminded that they should get out to a field again with their buddies and shoot each other up because it's been too long since they did that?

    Whenever and however we get a new player to a field, it's a good thing. How things progress from there is mostly dependant on what the field owner and his/her employees do once they are there. If the field owner does his/her job right, we have another regular player, who will bring in other players. Some of those players are going to be buying gear from their local hobby shop. Some of them will be playing regularly at the local fields. Even the guy that bought that first paintball marker at Walmart is most likely going to buy much of the rest of his equipment at a real paintball store. He certainly will be buying his high end markers at other paintball stores (or on-line - but that's another topic).