Beer giant Kingfisher loses market share as foreign players gain prominence

Indian beer giant Kingfisher’s market share surprisingly dropped owing to premium foreign brands as urban Indians seem to have developed a liking for high-end brands over high alcohol content in their beers.

Kingfisher, yet the largest beer brand in India, lost 4.3% market share between 2011 and 2016, based on data obtained from market researcher Euromonitor. This marked the steepest decline among the top beer brands in India during this time.

Dutch beer maker Carlsberg through its flagship product Tuborg, and the world’s largest alcohol maker Anheuser-Busch InBev NV through its brand Budweiser, capitalized on the gap created by Kingfisher’s decline. Tuborg is currently India’s second-largest beer brand with 11.1% market share, an approximate five-fold jump since 2011. The firm’s flagship beer Carlsberg is also on the list, whose market share has doubled to 5.8% since 2011, as revealed by Euromonitor data.

The aforementioned brands are positioned in the market as premium urbane beers and marketed along with music festivals and other events largely targeting the youth population. While Budweiser sponsors music events including Electric Daisy Carnival and Tomorrowland, Carlsberg sponsors events including football tournament UEFA Euro in India.

Emails sent to United Breweries’ spokesperson remained unanswered.

“It is clear that SAB getting together with AB InBev makes it a very strong competitor, with a portfolio of strong beers, as well as mild beers, in the mainstream, and also in the premium space,” Steven Bosch, chief financial officer of United Breweries said in an investor call on 9 November, 2017.

“So clearly it is a strong competitor and we have our own portfolio to counter that,” he added. He also mentioned that the company launched premium beer brands Desperados, Sol, Dos Equis, and a few others in order to capitalize on growth in the craft beer market in large metropolitans with brands including Delhi-based Bira91. These brands are mainly owned by Dutch brewer Heineken; it owns more than 40% of the firm.

Sources: LiveMint, News18