Meet the modern British countryside shooter

Written by
Fifty Team

09 Jan, 2021

Shooting is one of the oldest countryside pursuits in the UK, and is often associated with royalty and the upper class alongside rural, agrarian folk. Each which represents traditionalism and a dedication to a way of life that has fallen out of fashion in the last thirty years. And yet, the British shooting industry is still going strong, with shooters spending £2.5 billion each year on goods and services, and the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) reaching record-breaking membership numbers (over 150,000) in 2017. With the popularity of countryside shooting enduring, we wanted to find out who exactly is interested in shooting today? Is it the usual crowd of farmers and equestrians? What characteristics make up this audience? To find out, we studied the social data of two prominent shooting brands, British gunmaker Holland & Holland and Field Sports, a magazine devoted to the “finest game shooting, fishing and hunting”.

Here are five things we learned about modern British countryside shooters:

1. They really love their horses

While the top tribe within our Countryside Shooting analysis is unsurprisingly the Hunting Enthusiasts – a tribe of 97.3k accounts – but close behind, the second largest tribe, with 91.71k accounts, was the Equine Enthusiasts. This tribe is passionate about all things horses, with top influencers including journalist and horse riding advocate Clare Balding and equestrian event accounts such as British Eventing and Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.

2. They are both Town and Country

An overview of the British countryside shooting audience as seen on the Fifty platform.
Overview of the UK shooting audience.

When we think of shooting, the idyllic British countryside comes to mind. Manor houses, hounds and lots of tweed. But in our analysis there were both rural and urban tribes who have an interest in shooting. The third largest tribe to emerge from the social data is the predominantly London-based Luxury Fashionistas. This group is interested in high-end luxury retailers, publications and brands such as Harrods, British Vogue and Burberry. In contrast, other top tribes include Farmers and Yorkshire Countrysiders, both which represent a more traditional view of shooting fans with influencers including brands John Deere and Yorkshire Tea.

With such disparate tastes between these tribes, it is crucial not to make assumptions about an audience based on broader segmentations like demographics or location-alone.

3. When it comes to influencers, they keep it old school

When we looked at the top 100 influencers across the entire audience – so those that resonated across all 32 tribes – we found that influence was not to be found in celebrity or brands but more from shooting organisations and publications. Membership-based shooting organisations like the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) and the Countryside Alliance were in the top ten influencers, alongside The Shooting Gazette, The Field magazine and Shooting Times. In fact, the only brand to make it into the top 50 influencers was Barbour.

Hunting Enthusiasts, a key segment within the British countryside shooting audience.
Hunting Enthusiasts

4. Yes, many are still traditionalists

Amongst the top 10 tribes, there were several that are more conservative in their outlook. In the Passionate Traditional Views tribe, right-leaning political figures such as Donald Trump and Jacob Rees-Mogg appear in their top influencers, alongside the Pope and interestingly, Hillary Clinton (keeping your enemies close perhaps). This group use words such as “British”, “political”, “conservative”, “community” and “local” to describe themselves in their bios and The Daily Mail, Fox News and The Express are all top domains they visit.

5. But there are younger tribes emerging who are interested in shooting

One of the smaller tribes to emerge in the study, coming in at #20, is Gen Z Students. Although there are only 9.8k accounts in the tribe, they have an audience value of 41, meaning they have a high affinity with the studied accounts, Holland & Holland and Field Sports – which means there is an overlap between the accounts they follow and the accounts the tribe follows. So even though they might not be a predominant tribe at the moment, they present a targeting opportunity. If shooting brands collaborated with the right influencers and publications, it is perfectly plausible that into the future this audience could be poised to grow.

Gen Z Students, a key segment within the British countryside shooter audience.
Gen Z Students

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