NEW YORK (Reuters) – Online retailing is booming in the United States, where online shopping is booming and gun sales have plummeted amid fears about gun violence.
But many of the country’s largest online retailers are now struggling to maintain the kind of high-traffic shopping that was once seen as the cornerstone of the booming gun industry.
At a time when gun owners are being told they can keep their firearms, online retailers and online sales platforms are struggling to sustain a sales surge that is expected to continue.
The online sales boom has been fueled by the online-only marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Google and Facebook.
Online retailers have a lot of money to burn, but they are finding that they can’t compete with brick-and-mortar stores that are selling a lot more firearms and firearms accessories.
Online gun retailers say they need more stores in places like California, Florida and Florida, where more gun owners have more guns and more guns are bought, rather than a handful of smaller, more niche online sellers that are trying to maintain their niche.
“There is no question that we have to make some changes in our business model, to make it a viable model,” said Scott Kann, the owner of a gun-trading website, Guns.com.
“We’re going to have to look at our inventory.”
Online gun sales rose by nearly a million dollars in the first six months of this year, according to online sales tracker comScore.
It has grown to $1.3 billion.
But online sales are still a small part of the $9.3 trillion gun industry, and the industry has not been able to keep up with demand.
Online sales were up only 8 percent last year, to $5.5 billion, according the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
That was down from 17 percent in 2014.
Gun-related crimes have also dropped.
There have been reports that the FBI is considering closing down gun stores, and a few gun retailers have announced plans to shut down or sell their business.
One gun shop owner in California who asked to remain anonymous said he had to sell his store after the online sales frenzy began.
“You have to be kidding me,” he said.
“I’m not sure how they could support it,” he added.