Bud Light, continuing to face backlash from consumers, saw another seven-day period of declining U.S. sales in the last full week of May.
For the week ending May 27, NielsenIQ data that Bump Williams Consulting provided to FOX Business showed that Bud Light posted a 23.9% decrease in sales on a dollar basis compared to a year ago. The Anheuser-Busch-owned brand’s sales have fallen 24.5% in the past four weeks ending with that one, according to the data.
FOX Business reached out to Anheuser-Busch for comment.
Bud Light and parent Anheuser-Busch have been dealing with backlash since early April, when the company created custom cans for transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. Some beer drinkers have said they would boycott the brand.
However, in comparison to the week before that, the week ending May 27 marked a smaller decrease for Bud Light. Sales of the brand saw a decline of 25.7% in the week ending May 20 from a year ago, according to the NielsenIQ and Bump Williams Consulting data.
Bump Williams, CEO of Bump Williams Consulting, told FOX Business on Tuesday that week-to-week softening was due to a “combination of things.”
“I think a lot of Anheuser-Busch distributors have been working exceptionally hard to communicate to their local communities that it wasn’t their fault,” he said. “And once they clearly stated that this was not on them, I think their strong relationships in retail and with the local communities began to resonate.”
Another thing that factored into the Bud Light sales going from a 25.6% decline to a 23.9% decline between the weeks ending May 20 and May 27 was that retailers “continued to merchandise” Anheuser-Busch’s portfolio, according to Williams.
“I think the strength of the AB distributors and obviously the AB national retail team that calls on chains, they kept those displays up there,” he said, noting the brand was also going up against “some really strong comps” from 2022 for the week of Memorial Day.
He also credited the discount that Bud Light did for purchases for Memorial Day, a move he said “went a long way in driving some consumer purchases.”
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Bud Light’s Memorial Day rebate made it so that customers in eligible states could “get up to $15 back” when they bought certain Bud Light or Budweiser products. It ran from May 17 to May 31, according to the brand’s website.
“This price incentive, this coupon, one, it got displays up there and, two, maybe it attracted the consumer back to the portfolio because they’re struggling with the economy being tough,” Williams told FOX Business.
That doesn’t, however, mean Bud Light’s problem “is over,” Williams said, noting it was “just an improvement from where it was the previous week.”
If Bud Light continues to post 20% sales declines in the weeks leading up to July 4, some retailers “are going to be forced to start making shelf space reallocations” to other brands, according to Williams.
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Per the NielsenIQ data from Bump Williams Consulting, the sales for the beers Miller Lite, Coors Light and Yuengling Traditional Lager grew on a dollar basis in the week ending May 27.
Miller Lite and Coors Light belong to Chicago-based Molson Coors.
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For Yuengling Traditional Lager, sales rose 31.3% in the four weeks ending May 27, the data showed. Miller Lite and Coors Light sales climbed 21.3% and 23.5%, respectively, in that period.
In its subsegment, Bud Light’s market share in terms of sales dollars came in at 35.4% for the 21 weeks ending May 27, according to the provided NielsenIQ data.
It’s “highly unlikely” Bud Light will stop being the best-selling beer in the U.S., but it’s not impossible, Williams told FOX Business. He noted that Modelo Especial “has surpassed Bud Light as the No. 1-selling brand in the country” for the past four individual weeks.
Other types of alcoholic beverages may be helped by Bud Light having lost customers in recent weeks.
BUD LIGHT BACKLASH TO BOOST TRULY, SELTZERS: ANALYST
Boston Beer Company’s Truly and other hard seltzers will see a boost in the summer due to Bud Light’s loss of market share, a senior analyst at Roth MKM wrote last week in a note. He said the “substitutability between Bud Light and seltzers should increase” along with the summer’s warmer temperatures.
|SAM||BOSTON BEER CO. INC.||334.92||-5.59||-1.64%|
As of Tuesday evening, the stock price of Anheuser-Busch InBev has dropped about 15% compared to where it was a month ago.
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