Summary of our market study

The global self-defense products market, estimated at $2874 million in 2021, is projected to reach $4519 million by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 5.4%. This growth is largely driven by heightened perceptions of civil unrest and violent crimes, as well as the increasing participation in outdoor activities like hiking and trekking which bolster demand for self-defense items. Italy's self-defense market echoes this trend, influenced by its citizens' growing unease over personal safety. Despite a drop in the Italian arms manufacturing industry to €1.45 billion in 2020 from its peak in the preceding years, firearm ownership remains a considerable interest, with roughly 9% of Italians keeping a firearm at home for self-defense and a substantial percentage of the population advocating for relaxed firearm possession laws. Italy's trade in self-defense weapons substantially favors exports (rising from $957.09 million in 2018 to $1,425.80 million in 2022) over imports (growing from $98.09 million in 2018 to $129.43 million in 2022), indicating a strong domestic production sector. The self-defense market is fairly concentrated with a few large companies dominating, and while the number of companies has declined by 30%, the demand for self-defense weapons remains significant, driven by factors such as increasing violence against women, with reports of sexual violence rising from 4,634 in 2017 to 5,274 in 2021.

Trends and Figures: A Glimpse into the Self-Defense Market in Italy

The Italian self-defense market is reflecting an intriguing trend where citizens' perception of safety significantly influences demand. Despite a decline in crime, the growing unease about safety has led to about 39% of Italians advocating for more relaxed laws concerning firearm possession for self-defense—a stark increase from 25% who felt this way years prior. Approximately 9% of Italians have a firearm at home with the intention of self-protection. This increasing consciousness regarding individual safety has fed into the self-defense market's growth, positioning it to reach a value between $3 and $4 billion globally by the mid-2020s. Specifically in Italy, the arms manufacturing industry, while witnessing a slight downturn in 2020 from its peak year, retains a significant worth, falling within the range of $1 to $1.5 billion. When examining firearm licenses, a minor portion, slightly over 1%, are granted for self-defense, highlighting a stringent regulatory framework that Italians must navigate to acquire such equipment for personal protection. Interestingly, the broader arms sector in Italy shows a predominant export orientation, with exports experiencing an almost 50% increase in value over recent years and significantly surpassing imports.

Violent crimes, which can often catalyze the purchase of self-defense weapons, have varied in occurrence. Robberies have seen a decline of about 30% over a recent five-year span, whereas assaults have reflected a 7% rise, indicating a complex landscape of personal safety concerns fueling market demand. The structure of Italy's market reveals a concentrated landscape of arms and ammunition production, where a small number of relatively large organizations dominate, and this number is shrinking, evidencing heightened market consolidation. Most of these businesses take the form of limited liability companies, which is a common legal structure due to its flexibility. Distribution of these weapons is strictly managed, with a declining number of specialized retail establishments, indicating potential consolidation or market exit within this sector as well. The government maintains a tight grip on weapon ownership regulations, demanding prompt reporting for any transactions involving firearms or ammunition. A variety of permits and licenses are required, with stringent criteria governing who can carry and use weapons for self-defense. Legal allowance for ownership and usage of these weapons is also heavily dependent on the kinetic energy the weapon discharges; this is especially relevant for less lethal weapons like rubber ammunition guns and pepper sprays.

Key Market Players in the Global and Italian Self-Defense Industry

The global and Italian self-defense markets are influenced by a number of prominent companies that specialize in the manufacture and supply of self-defense weapons and equipment. These players have made significant contributions to the industry by offering a variety of products that cater to the diverse needs of individuals seeking to protect themselves. Let’s look at some of the major companies that are shaping the self-defense weapon landscape.

  • PIETRO BERETTA ARMS FACTORY - S.P.A. One of the most renowned names in the firearm industry, Beretta is a legacy company with a deep-rooted history in gun manufacturing. Based in Italy, Beretta produces a wide range of firearms that are known for their quality, performance, and craftsmanship. While primarily known for their handguns and long guns, Beretta's portfolio also caters to the self-defense market with compact and reliable pistols that are suited for personal protection.
  • RWM ITALIA S.P.A. RWM Italia is part of the broader Rheinmetall Defence which operates globally. Although RWM is well-known for its engagement in the defense sector, providing various munitions and systems, its reach also extends into products that can be adapted for self-defense purposes.
  • BENELLI ARMI S.P.A. Benelli is another prestigious firearm manufacturer hailing from Italy. Renowned for their shotguns, especially their semi-automatic range, Benelli's products are favored among those looking for reliability and cutting-edge technology. Their weapons can be utilized for both sporting purposes and self-defense scenarios.
  • FIOCCHI MUNITIONS S.P.A. Fiocchi is a key player in the field of ammunition manufacturing. The company's products include ammunition designed for pistols and revolvers, which are commonly used in self-defense. Fiocchi is known for its innovation and high-quality standards, making its ammunition trusted by consumers worldwide.
  • CHEDDITE ITALY S.R.L. Specializing in the production of primers and cartridges for shooting and hunting, Cheddite Italy also provides products that can be used for self-defense purposes. Their cartridges are known for being reliable, which is a critical factor when it comes to self-defense situations.
  • NOBEL SPORT MARTIGNONI S.P.A. Nobel Sport Martignoni offers a range of ammunition, including those for self-defense. The company's focus on safety and effectiveness ensures that its products meet the stringent demands of individuals who prioritize self-protection. 
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Summary and extracts

1 Market Overview

1.1 Definition and presentation

Self-defense involves the possibility that one can protect oneself from the unjustified aggression of others. A distinction is made between weapons that require a license and weapons that can also be used without a license. The first category includes: firearms, tasers, and small arms. it is generally prohibited to leave the house with such weapons (including tasers), unless exceptionally permitted by law. Weapons for defense that do not require a license, on the other hand, include: pepper spray and pepper gun, knuckle/knuckleball, and electric bollard. Most of these items cannot be carried outside one's home.

The global self-defense market size is expected to reach $3.6 billion by 2025, expanding at a CAGR of 5.9% over the forecast period. In Italy, about 9% of Italians own a firearm at home for the purpose of self-defense. Despite the fact that the number of crimes and offenses has been declining for several decades, the "perception" of insecurity in the country is high and growing: in fact, 39% of Italians favor the introduction of less strict criteria for owning a firearm for self-defense. In 2015 it was only 25%.

The growth of the market globally is mainly attributed to the increasing incidences of civil unrest, while in Italy it is attributed to citizens' perception of safety. Major players in the market include: Leonardo; Beretta; Victorinox; Unisafe Technologies; GERBER GEAR; SABRE Security Equipment Corporation; Mace Security International, Inc.; Axon Entereprise Inc.; Salt Supply Company; and Self Defense Weapons.

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Market value of self-defense products
  • Turnover of arms and ammunition manufacturing industry
  • Percentage distribution of various weapons licenses
  • Export-import of some categories of weapons (HS code: 9302, 9303, 9304, 9305)
  • Exports of certain categories of weapons (HS codes: 9302, 9303, 9304, 9305)
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Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Beretta
RWM Italia S.p.A.
Benelli Armi
Fiocchi Munizioni
Cheddite Italy
NOBEL SPORT MARTIGNONI S.P.A.
MECCANICA DEL SARCA S.P.A.
CHIAPPA FIREARMS S.R.L.
Uberti S.p.a
FAP

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