NEW YORK -- After imported beer brands sank to their lowest U.S. consumer satisfaction levels in two years during the first half of 2012, the sector has largely rebounded, according to YouGov BrandIndex, which measures public perception of thousands of brands across dozens of sectors.
Imported beer has followed the same consumer perception pattern this year and last. Perception starts from its highest point in January, slides down for the first six months, and then climbs back up in the second half. But this year, the sector's perception level sank lower than last, and still has some ground to make up if they are to fully recover.
Domestic beer brands remained relatively steady in consumer satisfaction the first six months of the year, but then eroded to their lowest levels since December 2010 through mid-August. This sector's satisfaction levels have since risen modestly, and are still substantially below levels seen during the first half of the year.
Perhaps reflecting the reported tinkering with foreign beer brewing formulas by global owners, the gap between domestic and imported brands in consumer satisfaction shrank to its smallest difference in more than four years from mid-May to early June, said YouGov. Since mid-June, the gap has returned to the wider gap it has traditionally maintained.
The domestic and imported beer brand sectors were measured with YouGov BrandIndex's Satisfaction score, which asks respondents: "Are you a satisfied customer?" Results were filtered for respondents age 21 and over.
At the beginning of January 2012, the imported beer satisfaction score was 34, the highest it had been since the same month in 2011. The score declined and hit its bottom for the year on June 7 at 21. The year before, the sector's satisfaction score skidded from 36 in January to 25 in early June.
The current satisfaction score is 31.
The domestic beer satisfaction score started at 15 on January 2, the highest it had been since August 2008. It cooled down to the 11-12 score range for the next few months, and then swung up to an even higher 16 score on May 17.
It was at this point that the satisfaction score gap between the two sectors had contracted to only seven points, with the imported score at 21 and domestic at 14. Normally there is a 14-to-20-point gap on the average between the two sectors.
Domestic beer's satisfaction score dropped significantly from 14 on June 11 to four on July 13, and now stands at eight.
The current satisfaction score gap between the imported and domestic beer sectors is 23 points, YouGov said.