Bud light sales dropped 26.5% in the month of July. Anheuser-Busch Inbev, the parent company of Bud Light, has been experiencing the repercussions of a marketing misstep involving transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. The company’s U.S. revenue fell by over 10% in the year’s second quarter, largely due to a significant drop in Bud Light sales.
The controversy started when Anheuser-Busch Inbev sent a personalized Bud Light can to Dylan Mulvaney, a transgender influencer. Mulvaney, in turn, showcased the product to her vast social media following. The gesture was met with severe backlash, particularly from conservative figures who took offense and called for a boycott of the beer brand.
Bud Light’s collaborative attempt with Mulvaney sparked an intense debate online, leading to public figures, such as musician Kid Rock and NFL player Trae Waynes, posting videos of themselves shooting Bud Light cans. Amidst the turmoil, Mulvaney criticized Bud Light for not offering enough support during the uproar, claiming she experienced bullying and transphobia. This controversy grew to such an extent that it led to Bud Light losing its spot as America’s best-selling beer after holding the title for over two decades.
The Impact on Bud Light Sales
Bud Light’s Market Share Decline
The effects of the backlash were immediate and severe. Bud Light’s U.S. sales were down by 26.5% in the month ending July 15, reducing its market share to 6.8%. Concurrently, Mexican lager Modelo Especial, another Anheuser-Busch Inbev product, experienced a 13.5% increase in sales, pushing its market share to 8.7%.
The decline in Bud Light sales resulted in Anheuser-Busch Inbev’s U.S. revenue falling by 10.5% in the second quarter compared to the same period last year. However, the company surpassed Wall Street forecasts due to a 7.2% rise in overall revenue, amounting to $15.1 billion. This was primarily attributed to the performance of global brands such as Stella Artois and Corona, which compensated for the loss in Bud Light sales.
The Political Fallout
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis suggested that the state may pursue legal action against Anheuser-Busch Inbev over its association with Mulvaney. He revealed that the state’s pension fund contained over $50 million worth of Anheuser-Busch shares, the value of which had been adversely affected by the controversy.
Bud Light’s Recovery Efforts
Despite the backlash, Anheuser-Busch Inbev claimed that about 80% of consumers in the U.S. remain favorable or neutral toward the Bud Light brand. The company launched an advertising blitz and extended support to stores and distributors to recapture its lost market share.
However, these recovery efforts weighed heavily on the company’s core profits in the U.S., resulting in a 28% drop in the quarter. To further add to its troubles, Anheuser-Busch Inbev announced it would lay off about 2% of its U.S. workforce earlier this month.
While Bud Light struggled, Modelo Especial capitalized on the situation. The Mexican lager replaced Bud Light as the top-selling beer in the U.S., and its parent company, Molson-Coors, reported its best U.S. sales since the two firms merged in 2005.
Anheuser-Busch Inbev’s ordeal is a stark reminder of the power of social media and public opinion in shaping a brand’s trajectory. It underscores the need for businesses to tread carefully when navigating sensitive topics and the importance of aligning brand values with consumer expectations.
Despite the controversy, Bud Light remains a popular choice among beer drinkers. With the right strategies and a focus on rebuilding trust, the brand can hope to regain its lost ground and restore its position in the beer market. However, only time will tell if Bud Light’s sales will bounce back from this setback.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: How much has Bud Light lost in sales?
A1: Anheuser-Busch InBev, the parent company of Bud Light, reported a loss of $395 million in North American revenue between April and June. The beer maker’s revenue in the U.S. dipped by 10.5% compared to the previous year.
Q2: What is the number 1 selling beer in the US?
A2: Bud Light lost its top-seller spot in the U.S. market to Modelo following a spring boycott and backlash.
Q3: How much did Bud Light lose in the boycott?
A3: The boycott and backlash resulted in a loss of $395 million in North American revenue for Bud Light’s parent company, Anheuser-Busch InBev, during the period of April to June.
Q4: When did Bud Light become more popular than Budweiser?
A4: While the exact timing of when Bud Light became more popular than Budweiser is not specified, Bud Light’s popularity in the U.S. had been on a long slow decline before the spring boycott.
Q5: What is the Bud Light stock price?
A5: Bud Light is a brand under the parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), which saw its stock price rise on Thursday despite the reported losses in U.S. sales.
Q6: What is the Bud Light boycott?
A6: The Bud Light boycott refers to the backlash and boycotts that the brand faced after sponsoring transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. The boycott led to significant U.S. sales and revenue losses for Bud Light’s parent company.
Q7: What is Anheuser-Busch?
A7: Anheuser-Busch is the parent company of Bud Light and other beer brands. It is a multinational brewing company based in Belgium.
Q8: What is AB InBev?
A8: AB InBev, or Anheuser-Busch InBev, is the parent company of Bud Light and other well-known beer brands such as Budweiser, Stella Artois, Corona, and Michelob. It is a significant player in the global brewing industry and faced challenges in the U.S. market due to the Bud Light boycott and backlash.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Patrick Hodskins; Unsplash; Thank you!