By Princewill Ekwujuru
The economic contrac-tion witnessed in the country is hitting hard on premium beer brands with consumers resorting to cheaper brands as alternative.
The value brands available in the market include Trophy, 33 Export, Life, More, Star Lite, Goldberg and Hero.
The preference for these brands is occasioned by the double digit inflation rate which has reduced the purchasing power of consumers.
The premium brands are however pushing back by recruiting young drinkers (18+) using Activations at musical concerts and other event sponsorship designed to connect them to entertainment idols.
The three big operators in Nigeria’s beer sector – NB Plc, Guinness Nigeria Plc brands and International Breweries, IB are on their wits end to ensure they maintain, if not improve on their market share. The competition between these three is intense and highly exciting. However, consumers have different reasons for switching to the value beers. Some for the price, taste and low intoxicant level compared to the 5.5 per cent level of the premium brands.
Confirming this to Vanguard Companies and Markets, a Bar Manager with Bros Bar and Restaurant at new Oko-Oba, said: “Most customers drink value beers because of the economic situation adding that a customer can buy two bottles with N500. The volume of sales of value beer is very high, I can confirm.”
A distributor, Onyeka Nwaneri, at Great Challenge Road, Iyana Isasi, Iba Local Council Development Area, Lagos said the sales volume of value beer brands were high during the yuletide period compared to other periods. “I sold value brands more. For instance, I sold 28 cartons of Trophy, compared to 9 cartons of Heneiken, I recorded 27 cartons of 33 Export lager compared to Harp’s 7 cartons.”
A consumer, Pius Amawuru, said he goes for the value brands due to affordability. “The economy is hard and one needs to douse the tension. One or two bottles after a hard day’s job will do no harm. Before I used to take Heneiken for N400 that means if I drink two it is N800.
Before now, value beer sells for N200 per bottle, today it is N250, though all this depends on the bar you go to. For the moment, I will stick to the value brands until the economy improves, then I may likely switch back.”
Another consumer, known simply as Sam Sam said: “Once in a while I drink the premium brand I like, but for now, I have gone down the ladder, drinking the low cost beers until my pocket improves.”
To address this change in consumer preference, manufacturers of premium brands have embarked on series of innovative marketing activities to shore up their market share.
They expose their brands on billboards, TV and Radio commercials to rekindle public awareness about their brands. Promotional activities that reward consumers are another way the premium brands are trying to re-connect to their various consumers’ heart.