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Bud Light Sales Fall 30 Percent in Latest Week Since Boycott

Bud Light Sales Fall 30 Percent in Latest Week Since Boycott


Bud Light off-premise sales have continued to see sustained contractions compared to the same time last year, as the beer brand suffers its worst decline in year-on-year volumes since its brief partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney brought on calls for boycott.

The latest tracking figures by Nielsen IQ, provided to Newsweek by Bump Williams Consulting, show that in the week ending June 10, Bud Light sales volume—the number of units of beer sold—was 30.3 percent lower than in the same week in 2022, the largest such drop since the week ending April 1.

However, Dave Williams, vice president for analytics and insights at Bump Williams Consulting, cautioned that Bud Light’s sales earlier in the year still made it the top brand in America in both retail revenue and volumes, despite a strong showing from competitor labels.

Since the calls for a boycott of the beer brand began at the start of April, both Bud Light’s sales revenue and volume saw steep declines in the first five weeks of the controversy, before settling around mid-20 percent below the levels of 2022.

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Packages of Bud Light beer are displayed for sale in a grocery store on June 14, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. The beer brand’s off-premise volumes fell to their worst performance year-on-year in the week ending June 10 since the calls for boycott over a partnership with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney began.
Mario Tama/Getty Images

During the controversy, parent company Anheuser-Busch was accused of alienating its traditional customer base with the partnership, while some in the LGBTQ+ community have also slammed the company for not defending its ties with Mulvaney.

While the company’s global CEO, Michel Doukeris, said in a May 4 investor call that the declining Bud Light sales represented about 1 percent of Anheuser-Busch’s global volume, the latest figures suggest the backlash is having a lasting impact on the beer brand’s U.S. revenue.

In the week ending June 10, Bud Light’s sales revenue was down 26.8 percent on the same week a year ago. Williams told Newsweek that it had been a “tough week” for Bud Light and for other brands.

In the week ending June 3, its sales revenue had seen a year-on-year decline of 24.4 percent and 23.9 percent the week before that.

However, Williams expressed caution, saying: “No intelligent company makes strategic or tactical decisions predicated on SINGLE WEEK data-points as there are too many variables.”

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In the four weeks to June 10, it lost its top spot as having the largest market share in terms of revenue, with a 7.2 percent share compared to Mexican import Modelo Especial with an 8.4 percent portion of the off-premise market. However, it still retained the largest share of sales volume, 10.7 percent, in the same period.

Statistics provided to Newsweek by Constellation Brands, the beer’s U.S. distributor, showed Modelo Especial drew $36 million more in sales than Bud Light in the four weeks to May 28. Bill Newlands, the company’s CEO, said the jump had occurred “quicker than we had anticipated.”

In the week to June 10, Modelo Especial sales revenue grew 5.7 percent compared to the same time in 2022, with a 1.5 percent increase in volumes.

Williams said it was “possible” but “unlikely,” though, that Modelo would steal the top spot as America’s number-one beer brand in off-premise sales for the calendar year, “unless these growth trends for Modelo Especial continue and Bud Light declines continue.”

He added that Bud Light retained a “significant [dollar] advantage” over Modelo.

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Anheuser-Busch’s other beer brands continue to see sales impacted by the backlash against Bud Light, with Budweiser seeing a 10.2 percent revenue decline in the week ending June 10 compared to the same week a year ago. Busch Light saw a 4.2 percent drop in the same period, and Natural Light a 2.3 percent fall.

Beer brands in the Molson Coors stable continued a trend of Bud Light’s competitors appearing to absorb the demand from boycotters.

In the week ending June 10, Coors Light revenues were up 25.4 percent and Miller Lite‘s were 21.1 percent above the same week in 2022—despite the latter facing its own calls for a boycott over a supposedly “woke” advertising campaign.

Newsweek approached Anheuser-Busch via email for comment on Tuesday.

Published: 2023-06-20 12:16:54

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