Target archers know that their sport is the hottest around: USA Archery has seen unprecedented growth in its event registrations and membership from 2012 to 2013. For those wondering how that interest – which is especially strong on the youth side – translates into adult participation, the results are in. The first nationwide archery survey shows that 18.9 million Americans age 18 and older participated in archery and/or bowhunting in 2012.

The Archery Trade Association (ATA) recently released the results of the new survey, which was conducted in the same way as Gallup polls. The findings about archery participation and equipment use are a scientifically accurate and not estimates from other data.

“Often, the number of archers and bowhunters in the U.S. is estimated by the number of bows, arrows and other equipment sold, and hunting licenses issued within a given year,” said Jay McAninch, ATA’s president and CEO. “The results of this survey provide an accurate assessment of where the archery industry is currently, and where it has room to grow.”

“We’ve seen a tremendous increase in youth participation, which shows no signs of slowing down,” commented Denise Parker, USA Archery CEO. “We’re hopeful that this uptick in archery excitement will translate to sustained participation in this lifetime sport.”

The ATA has helped fund, develop and implement programs to grow archery for more than a decade. Membership in many archery groups, the demand for archery products, and media attention for the sport have increased in recent years. However, a lack of scientific data has made it impossible to determine true nationwide archery participation and interest.

The ATA commissioned the national participation survey through Responsive Management (RM), a respected surveying firm for outdoor activities. With emphasis on obtaining an accurate and precise sample of the U.S. population, RM called 8,335 randomly selected cell phone and residential phone numbers.

Participation in 2012

Of 235 million total Americans age 18 and older:

  • 18.9 million (8 percent) shot archery or bowhunted.
  • 10.4 million (4.4 percent) participated in target archery only.
  • 6.5 million (2.8 percent) participated in archery and bowhunting.
  • 1.9 million (0.8 percent) participated exclusively in bowhunting.

“Clearly, 2012 gave archery a marketing boost unlike anything enjoyed by other sports,” McAninch said. “But it still wasn’t clear who was involved in archery and/or bowhunting until now. This survey has offered much-needed clarity for those of us who are working to reach archers and potential archers.”

Of all archers and bowhunters:

  • 8.5 million (45 percent) were age 35 to 54. 
  • 7.9 million (42 percent) were age 18 to 34.
  • 2.4 million (13 percent) were older than age 55.
  • 5.8 million (31 percent) of all archery participants were women. 
  • 4.2 million (41 percent) of archery-only participants were women.
  • 1.6 million (84 percent) of bowhunting-only participants were men.

The ATA’s 2012 national participation survey was conducted between January and February of 2013. The organization plans to conduct the survey at least every other year to measure growth within the archery industry.

Logo courtesy USA Archery

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