The most recent poll followed on from my post about Premiumisation and asked to what degree buyers of bottled and canned beers were sensitive to special offers and discounts. There were 107 responses, broken down as follows:
I buy the brands I like regardless of price: 48 (45%)
I have a range of brands I like, but tend to choose those that are on offer: 24 (22%)
I often try brands outside my favourites if they are on offer: 21 (20%)
I just go for the cheapest available within the category: 4 (4%)
I never buy bottled or canned beer: 10 (9%)
So almost half of respondents said they did not tend to be influenced by offers and went for the beers they preferred. Overall, I suspect that understates beer buyers’ price sensitivity, but it applies more at the premium end of the market.
The implication of this for brewers must be that to build respect and success for your brand in the long term it is important to avoid being seen as something that is regularly piled high and sold cheap. One of the best beer marketing slogans of all time was Stella Artois’ “Reassuringly expensive”, a reputation that was destroyed by the brand’s owners in the pursuit of higher volumes. To some extent, Greene King seem to manage that with Old Speckled Hen, which apparently is the best-selling bottled beer in Britain.
And I think you’d find even if you confined the survey to canned lagers that there was more brand loyalty than might be imagined – consumers don’t just choose indiscriminately between Carling, Carlsberg and Fosters depending on what is cheapest on the day.