Glock’s Gun Sales Plummet in First Year of Trump Presidency

(Bloomberg) -- Before Donald Trump and the Republicans won the 2016 elections, Americans stockpiled guns like there was no tomorrow. Turns out the end of that panic-buying weighed heavily on the sales of Glock GmbH, the Austrian maker of some of America’s most popular handguns.

Glock sold 36 percent fewer handguns in 2017 and revenue fell 35 percent to 464 million euros ($533 million), the company based in Ferlach, Austria, said in its annual report. Net income slumped 58 percent to 67.9 million euros, following an extraordinarily profitable 2016.

“Demand normalized in 2017, dealers adapted their excessive stock levels and many competitors had extremely aggressive pricing and promotions,” Glock said in the report. While 2018 started with another decline in volumes, the company expects full-year sales to rise. A drop in the U.S. dollar means that may not lead to higher revenue in its own currency, Glock said.

Glock’s results echo that of other U.S. gunmakers like American Outdoor Brands Corp.’s Smith & Wesson or Sturm Ruger & Co., which also reported falling sales after Trump’s surprise victory in November 2016. Gun buyers had been rushing to stockpile weapons, afraid of new federal restrictions under a potential Hillary Clinton presidency.

Closely-held Glock—founder Gaston Glock’s family trust owns 99 percent of the company, and his estranged ex-wife Helga holds the balance—is under very limited disclosure requirements, making the company’s results a bit of a mystery.

Glock doesn’t publish sales or financial results on its website but only files an annual report to the Austrian company register, where the document—a collection of scanned pages—is behind a paywall. The 2017 report is dated May 30 and was filed to the register at the end of September.

Austria is by far the biggest source of handgun imports into the U.S., representing 1.2 million of the 3.3 million total, or a little more than one in every three imported handguns in 2017, according to U.S. government data.

More recent data show U.S. gun sales are still declining, though at a slower rate. The number of background checks—a proxy for sales—fell 5 percent in August from a year earlier. The decline in July was 9 percent.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.