Bud Light continues to face significant challenges in its sales following a controversial partnership with transgender TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney.
The brand’s sales have remained stubbornly low, down approximately 30% compared to last year since May or June, indicating a quasi-permanent situation where those consumers may be lost forever. Despite a recent report indicating a 15% return of boycotting drinkers, Bud Light still lags behind, experiencing a decline of 26.9% in dollars and 30.3% in volume, according to a study by Bump Williams Consulting.
The publisher suggests that the company may continue to witness similar declines in the foreseeable future, potentially until April and May of 2024 when the controversy is no longer a factor.
The industry had anticipated a rebound by now, but the situation has worsened, with Bud Light losing the confidence of retailers. Next summer will be crucial in determining the brand’s long-term success as it strives to regain its once-devoted following. The brand may face a challenging winter, with the only potential solace being its connections with wholesalers, which can help maintain local community engagement.
This situation is unprecedented in the beer industry. The controversy emerged when Anheuser-Busch InBev commemorated Mulvaney’s 365th day of girlhood with a personalized beer can, triggering backlash and a significant sales decline. The March Madness partnership, featuring Mulvaney in an ad, drew criticism from various quarters, including Kid Rock, who protested by shooting cans. Mulvaney, an aspiring theater actor, highlighted the transphobia and hate she has faced since gaining influencer status and called for public support for transgender individuals.