Is the Flashlight Industry that big?

Bruno28

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I was talking to one of the representatives of a well know flashlight brands about becoming an authorized retailer and was surprised on their revenue figures. Im not sure if its true or not, but if it is I might as well start designing my own for mass production. :p

I won't mention company name as I'm not sure if I should divulge the information. But they were saying that their annual global revenue is on the $10's of million. Can that figure be correct? From just flashlight?
 
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DK Demand Lab

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I am not familiar with figures in the industry but I guess that's possible since a "well-known" flashlight brand can be a supplier of tactical and EDC lights to government agencies and military departments (large volume sales). In business perspective, I guess it's a lot dependable/reliant on whether or not a flashlight company can become a government vendor or not.

So, I will believe it if a well-known flashlight company generates 7 figure revenues annually. People become millionaires by selling "little" products and services on many things...

BTW, have you asked the representatives about their retailers'/franchisees' success point? If the retailers generate reasonable revenues as the company does, I might as well look into the retailer scene!!
 
Lynx_Arc

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10 million dollars isn't a huge thing if you sell worldwide especially if you market to asian countries like China and also countries like India who have populations of over a billion one could see if only 1% of the people bought from you that would be 10 million people. Revenue is sometimes considered "Gross" income so sell 1% of the people in China a 1 dollar light and you have 10 million dollars right there.
 
Str8stroke

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Gross not Net. Need a P&L to tell speak of actual profitability. See if they will send you that. hehehe
 
CelticCross74

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YES...the flashlight industry is massive thanks in part to massive government contracts(Surefire, Pelican)then into haz-lo work lights headlamps etc...
 
bykfixer

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Contrary to popular belief (for some strange reason) those guys don't have big gov't contracts.
Yet it keeps being repeated...

Fulton on the other hand does. 23k/ week go to the US government.
(I got that from a high up at Fulton)
 
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blankc72

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I was issued (and still have) an incandescent Pelican M6 back in 2009. Also seen Surefire's given for reenlistments, deployments, etc. However, most people bought their own Surefire,Pelican, Malkoff, or whatever if they wanted something nice.
 
ChrisGarrett

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The American National Football League did $10,000,000,000 last year.

The worldwide flashlight market, not so much so.

I'd like to see a guesstimate of flashlight sales worldwide. Maybe $100,000,000?

Just a guess.

Chris
 
Lynx_Arc

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The American National Football League did $10,000,000,000 last year.

The worldwide flashlight market, not so much so.

I'd like to see a guesstimate of flashlight sales worldwide. Maybe $100,000,000?

Just a guess.

Chris
probably 3-5 times that much if 5% people on the earth buy a $3 flashlight this year figure 7 billion people at that rate and you get a pretty large number. It is like everyone in the US buying a $3 flashlight about a billion dollars and this doesn't include lanterns and headlamps and etc.
 
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TheShadowGuy

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Marketwise, I'd assume enthusiasts are a fairly small chunk. However, militaries, LEOs, emergency services, workers in various industries (construction, medical, engineering, sanitation, etc etc), all need lights. On top of this, even the average person may buy lights for preparedness or EDC.
That's a lot of people. It wouldn't surprise me if the industry in aggregate turns over billions each year.
 
Bruno28

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Thats crazy and surprising. I never see the lights we flashaholics like so much on stores in Australia.
I actually thought for brands like sunwayman, nitecore, fenix, etc the market share was mostly consisted of flashaholics. Guess I was wrong.

Surefire I understand its used in USA military and police, so thats a huge market.
 
CelticCross74

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Surefire has huge contracts with the government LEO/Military. Pelican does great biz with them as well. Living where I do where it is one massive military base after another plus massive police presence I see a lot of what they carry. Not sure why the FD here seem to use Streamlights exclusively but hey whichever. Surefire makes a mint off the gvt. from lights off all types to endless crates of SF branded CR123's. Enthusiasts make up a pretty small portion of the market. Whenever I see a local or state cop they always seem to have what look like brand new Surefires on them I think they are Fury's. At the very least worldwide its a couple billion dollar market.
 
bykfixer

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Back shortly after 1900 a fellow named Conrad Hubert who lived in New York city realized this thing called a flashlight had potential to be very popular with home owners and house wives who lived in cities with inconsistant power grids. He also knew folks beyond the grid would like them as well.
By 1906 the carbon filament bulb had been replaced by a tunston filament. Bulbs were able to burn longer than a few seconds at a time.
A former associate of Mr. Hubert, Charles F Burgess had tweaked chemistries inside of batteries and had produced major advances in runtime.
Manufacturing numbers were increasing and flashlights were no longer seen as a novelty.

Now the idea that may have had the biggest impact on sales was when Mr. Hubert donated a few dozen of his Ever Ready (later changed to Eveready in the US) vulcanite 2 D lights to local police departments. They were a huge hit with cops and their wives.

A Franco made 2C made a few years later, was very similar to the 2D Ever Ready mentioned.

Once the flashlight was seen as a tool for crime fighting there was no end in sight.

I will add when it was deemed useful for military use when I know for certain, but by World War 2 a number of companies were making the TL-122A. Due to metal shortages the B was made of plastic and was widely issued to Allied troops.

Left is the US paratrooper A.
Right is the B that was largely distributed to British and American troops as well as other nations in the Allied campaign.

It has been said the TL122A was used near the end of WW1.


A bit off track, but relevant to the future of the industry:
In the 1920's an allegiance was formed to reduce the lifespan of light bulbs. Eventually it was disbanded but precidence had been set.
My first LED lights boasted claims of 100,000 hours user life. Then I noticed many were saying 50,000 hours. Still sounds great, right? But now, if you take notice there are some stating 30,000 hours. Some would say "it's due to over drive." Pish-posh I say...it's 'planned obsolecence repeating imo.

http://spectrum.ieee.org/geek-life/history/the-great-lightbulb-conspiracy
^^ The story of the light bulb conspiracy.
You decide.

Yeah the flashlight industry is that big.
 
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chaosdsm

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I won't mention company name as I'm not sure if I should divulge the information. But they were saying that their annual global revenue is on the $10's of million. Can that figure be correct? From just flashlight?

Easily... In 2004 Maglite began construction on an $80 million, 700,000 square foot manufacturing facility (30 acres) in Ontario California. This facility produces about 100,000 Maglite's every day, or about 25,000,000 per year.

If you walk into just about any big box store in the US & you'll find a Maglite for sale somewhere in that store... Sears, Target, Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot, et.al., even some convenience stores sell the Maglite Solitaire. I've seen estimates that put their annual revenue at about $300 million (some "experts" say it's even higher), but as a privately held company, exact numbers aren't available.
 
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sidecross

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Solar technology along with battery technology will be a major source of light for most of the Earth's current 7.4 billion Homo sapien sapien population.
 
Bruno28

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Bykfixer. Interesting history there. Thanks for sharing.

Chaosdsm. Mag lite is well know. That's the one you see everywhere. Still. $300m is a huge number.

So what does a flashlight need now a days to stand out and grow, since competition seems so fierce?
 
chaosdsm

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So what does a flashlight need now a days to stand out and grow, since competition seems so fierce?

In order of importance to me (many others will probably have a different order for these things)
1> A quality product
2> Multiple operation modes
3> Good output at Max/Turbo without being to large
4> handles/dissipates heat well
5> good battery life.
6> no PWM
7> good overall value for what you get
8> good sub 1 lumen mode.


I like a "one light does it all" approach, but also in a quality product. I still love my Nitecore SRT-7, but it's missing SOS mode which bugs the heck out of me. If it had that, it would almost be perfect. Only thing's I would change on it if I could, replace the RGB LED's with UV and IR LED's & add SOS mode. I can always do RGB through filters.

To "Stand Out" is difficult at best. You might check with local Law Enforcement or Military and ask if there are any features that they would like to see added to their EDC lights that aren't currently an option for them. If you can find a way to provide something they're missing, that would definitely help you stand out. Though difficult to obtain, LE/Mil contracts are a quick way to grow.
 
Bruno28

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In order of importance to me (many others will probably have a different order for these things)
1> A quality product
2> Multiple operation modes
3> Good output at Max/Turbo without being to large
4> handles/dissipates heat well
5> good battery life.
6> no PWM
7> good overall value for what you get
8> good sub 1 lumen mode.


I like a "one light does it all" approach, but also in a quality product. I still love my Nitecore SRT-7, but it's missing SOS mode which bugs the heck out of me. If it had that, it would almost be perfect. Only thing's I would change on it if I could, replace the RGB LED's with UV and IR LED's & add SOS mode. I can always do RGB through filters.

To "Stand Out" is difficult at best. You might check with local Law Enforcement or Military and ask if there are any features that they would like to see added to their EDC lights that aren't currently an option for them. If you can find a way to provide something they're missing, that would definitely help you stand out. Though difficult to obtain, LE/Mil contracts are a quick way to grow.

Thanks for your feedback :) Its difficult to make everyone happy with one flashlight. To solve UI its very simple. The best is to make a flashlight that is programmable on PC, so you can set up exactly like you want for the UI/outputs/etc. Surprised that's not available or maybe I don't know of it?

For hardware its more difficult to please all as its very user dependent on colour of LED/UV/IR/switches location/hand feel/flood/throw

What do you need UV and IR led for?
 

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