**Bud Light’s U.S. Market Share Stabilizes After Promotion with Transgender Influencer**
Bud Light, a popular beer brand, has expressed confidence that its U.S. market share has stabilized after a promotion with a transgender influencer led to a decline in sales. Anheuser-Busch Inbev, Bud Light’s parent company, reported a 10.5% decrease in U.S. revenue in the second quarter of the year. The decline in sales was attributed to a conservative backlash following Bud Light’s decision to send a commemorative can to transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney in early April.
**Sales Plunge Amid Backlash**
Bud Light’s sales saw a significant plunge after their partnership with Dylan Mulvaney, with the company’s total U.S. market share for all brands falling more than 5% to 36.9% in April. However, from the end of April to the end of June, the market share stabilized. Some of the company’s other brands, such as Busch Lite and Michelob Ultra, experienced an increase in market share during this period.
**Impact on Best-Selling Beer Status**
The consequences of the Bud Light saga have been costly for the brewer. In June, Bud Light lost its position as America’s best-selling beer after over two decades, being overtaken by Mexican lager Modelo Especial. Interestingly, InBev also owns the Modelo brand, but in the U.S., it is imported and sold by Constellation Brands.
**Continued Decline in Sales**
Data from Nielsen, compiled by Bump Williams Consulting, shows that Bud Light’s U.S. retail sales have declined by 26% in comparison to the same period last year, with monthly declines ranging from 25% to 30% since the backlash began.
**Financial Support for Wholesalers**
In response to the decline in Bud Light sales, InBev CEO Michel Doukeris announced that the company plans to provide financial support to U.S. wholesalers until the end of December. The aim is to compensate for the lost sales volume. Despite the negative sales impact, internal polling conducted by the company suggests that 80% of U.S. consumers still hold a favorable or neutral view of Bud Light.
**Consumer Feedback and Business Strategy**
Doukeris shared that feedback from consumers indicated several key points. Firstly, consumers want to enjoy their beer without engaging in debates. Secondly, they would like Bud Light to concentrate on its core product – beer. Finally, consumers expressed a desire for Bud Light to focus on platforms that all consumers love, such as the NFL and music. In response to this feedback, the company is working hard to regain consumer trust and loyalty.
**Concerns over Discounts**
Some investors have raised concerns about the company’s discounts on Bud Light products, with examples of grocery stores offering significant rebates. However, Doukeris explained that recent price increases have put the company in a better position to offer discounts. He also noted that the summer marketing campaigns were planned prior to the Bud Light situation.
**Boycotts and Criticisms**
Bud Light faced calls for a boycott from conservative figures and others due to their partnership with Dylan Mulvaney. On the other hand, Mulvaney’s supporters criticized the brand for not providing enough support to her in the face of bullying and transphobia. During the earnings call, Doukeris refrained from mentioning Mulvaney by name, focusing instead on the company’s progress since the situation arose.
**Overall Revenue and Performance**
Despite the decline in Bud Light sales, Anheuser-Busch InBev reported a 7.2% increase in overall revenue for the second quarter, amounting to $15.1 billion. Global brands like Stella Artois and Corona helped make up for the loss in Bud Light sales. However, this figure fell short of Wall Street’s expectation of $15.4 billion.
Anheuser-Busch InBev’s shares remained flat during morning trading in New York following the earnings call. The market response indicates cautious investor sentiment in light of the declining Bud Light sales. The company will need to continue addressing consumer concerns and implementing effective strategies to regain its market position.