7 in 10 Consumers Say Trust in Brands Has Become More Important

Almost 9 in 10 (88% of) adult consumers around the world say that trust is an important consideration when they buy a brand, up from 84% who said the same last year, according to a recent Edelman study [pdf]. As such, trust continues to be a top three buying consideration, slightly trailing only good value for the money (91%) and best quality (89%).

The report indicates that trust is growing as a consideration: more than 7 in 10 (71% of) consumers agree that it’s more important to trust the brands they buy or use today than in the past. This is most acutely expressed by Gen Z adults ages 18-26, 79% of whom feel that trust in brands is more important than it was. This is notable in light of recent research that found that – at least in the US – Gen Zers are less trusting of brands than their older counterparts.

With brand purpose being a factor in purchase decisions, young adults are also more likely than the average to want brands to make it easier to see their values when they’re about to make a purchase, with 64% of 18-26-year-olds concurring with this sentiment. In fact, 62% believe that if a brand doesn’t communicate its actions to address societal issues, they assume it is doing nothing or hiding something. This needs to be balanced with findings suggesting that Gen Zers are the least trusting of brands’ sustainability claims, and it’s worth acknowledging that brands’ purpose initiatives often don’t make it into consumers’ consciousness. Past research has also found that some consumers have misgivings about brands touting their corporate social responsibility (CSR) commitments, although Gen Zers tended to be a little more forgiving than others in that case.

For what it’s worth, adults say that the best source to learn if a company does good in the world is through media (the news media and/or special interest media), followed by search. (Previous research has found consumers saying that social media and news articles are the best channels for learning about brands’ sustainability efforts.)

Meanwhile, the best source to learn about a new brand or product is through brand communications (a direct communication from the brand itself and/or the brand’s advertising), per consumers, while the best source to learn if the product will perform is through personal experience.

Other Survey Highlights:

  • Almost 3 in 4 (73% of) adults say that brands that increase their sense of safety and security are more attractive than brands that spark their sense of adventure and thrill-seeking.
  • Given the events of the past year, almost two-thirds (64%) are now more likely to consider a product’s health impact, and a majority (55%) are more likely to consider its environmental impact.
  • More than three-quarters (77%) say there are brands they will not buy because of the countries in which they are headquartered.
  • Close to 8 in 10 (78% of) adults uncover things that attract them and make them loyal to a brand after their first purchase.
  • Among adults who actively research important attributes of the brands they buy, half say they do most of their brand research after they buy. The analysts suggest that these data points mean that the traditional linear transactional purchase funnel is no longer relevant.
  • About 6 in 10 (59% of) adults are more likely to purchase a brand when they trust it, and two-thirds (67%) are more likely to stay loyal to and advocate for such a brand.
  • About 7 in 10 (69% of) respondents said that a brand owning its mistakes would be very/extremely effective in building or increasing their trust in the brand, while 63% said the same regarding transparency about its climate impact, supply chain, and employee diversity. Openness and transparency has also been seen in other research as a key factor in building trust in brands.

About the Data: The results are based on a May survey of 13,802 adults across 14 countries: Brazil; Canada; China; France; Germany; India; Japan; Mexico; Saudi Arabia; South Africa; South Korea; UAE; UK; and US.

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