Economy beers have gotten more focus from MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch InBev in 2017, and consumers have responded.
Over the four weeks ending Oct. 28, Nielsen all-outlet data show the budget beer segment was up 0.5 percent.
On top of that, at least four and sometimes five economy brands have consistently appeared in the Nielsen Top 10 Growth Brands list over the summer and into fall. This week, the list includes MillerCoors brands Keystone Light and Hamm's, as well as ABI's Bud Ice and Rolling Rock
Who exactly are these drinkers? While there are plenty of stereotypes about consumers who reach for a value brand, we dug into some work provided by our insights team. Here are five things we learned:
1. They’re intensely loyal to the economy segment. While there’s a little bit of interaction with premium lights, such as Miller Lite, Coors Light and Bud Light, most economy drinkers remain within the economy portfolio and many of them are loyal to a particular brand. At the same time, however, this drinker is price sensitive and prone to moving among brands within the segment when they’re promoted.
2. They're not all lower-income, blue-collar types. Most economy drinkers fall into two segments: “renters” and “owners.” The “renter” is the 21- to 27-year-old who typically drinks beer in social settings and to celebrate. “Owners,” meanwhile, comprise the majority of economy drinkers. They’re adults aged 34-plus who drink economy beers to relax and reconnect. These consumers typically have a few beers a day after work.
3. It’s not just men. Half of Keystone Light volume, for instance, is consumed by women. Women also make about half of economy beer purchases.
4. They often consume while doing other things, such as having a beer while doing yard work, cooking dinner or tinkering with a project.
5. Because they value hard work and they work hard for their paychecks, they’re careful about how they spend their money. They buy economy beer because it’s a good value, not because they can’t afford a higher price point. They still value brands and quality, but they’re always looking for a good deal, or ways to make their dollars stretch farther.