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Sales have been falling short

The boycott, spurred by a public relations partnership in April, appears to have had a huge impact on Bud Light’s sales. In just one week, sales dipped 17%.

And they’ve continued to trend downwards. By June, Bud Light fell second place behind rival brand Lager Modelo Especial in terms of U.S. sales volume, based on data from Nielsen and Bump Williams Consulting.

In the most recent week reported by Nielsen, the brand sold 28.5% fewer cans and bottles than the previous week.

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Bud Light’s reputation has taken a hit too

The latest YouGov poll adds another layer to this story. During the second quarter of 2023, the firm polled 1,468 people across America to measure their preferences for different beer brands. Guinness, Corona and Heineken came in as the most popular, with 51% to 58% approval ratings.

Bud Light, meanwhile, had an approval rating of 42% — putting it on par with Pabst Blue Ribbon, Miller Genuine Draft and Miller Light.

However, the brand’s approval rating was 42% in the same quarter last year — indicating that Bud Light’s approval rating may be a matter of taste.

What comes next?

Research indicates that online boycotts may not be as durable or impactful as some believe. Jura Liaukonyte, an economics professor at Cornell University, studied sales of Spotify premium subscriptions and Goya beans after their boycotts by conservative consumers. Both brands faced consumer backlash and boycotts due to political issues. And their analysis indicates that the dip in sales is often temporary.

These sales downturns often only last as long as the media news cycle does. Once the news cycle moves on, sales gradually recover and the brand’s long-term trajectory remains intact, according to Professor Liaukonyte and her team.

On that basis, the team expects Bud Light to see little to no impact from these boycotts over the long term.

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Vishesh Raisinghani Freelance Writer

Vishesh Raisinghani is a freelance contributor at MoneyWise. He has been writing about financial markets and economics since 2014 - having covered family offices, private equity, real estate, cryptocurrencies, and tech stocks over that period. His work has appeared in Seeking Alpha, Motley Fool Canada, Motley Fool UK, Mergers & Acquisitions, National Post, Financial Post, and Yahoo Canada.

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