Trust is the basis for consumers clicking on ads and making purchases online. Edelman's 2019 Trust Barometer survey, released Monday, shows how news, government, media and other events across the internet have changed the way consumers think and act.
People have recently lost confidence in search engines and social platforms, which led to people shifting their trust to relationships with coworkers and employers. They have shied away from trust in Google and Facebook, and developed more trust in those they have frequent contact with.
The shift in the relationship between consumers and internet companies creates new opportunities for business, according to the Edelman online survey of 33,000 respondents, conducted globally between October 19, and November 16, 2018.
The study takes the average percent of trust from nonprofit organizations, business, government and media to determine the scores.
Despite mistrust, trust in traditional media at 65% and search at 65% are at the highest historical levels, driven by large increases in developed markets and people staying informed.
Conversely, trust gaps exist between traditional and social media, as seen in the U.S. and Canada with a 31-point gap as well as Europe with a 26-point gap.
Democrats distrust the government most, and put the most trust in media. Republicans distrust media the most, and put the most trust in business.
Gender also plays a role. A gap in trust between males and females remains in the double digits across several developed markets -- such as Germany with 12 points and the U.S. with 11 points -- mostly driven by women's lower trust in business. More women at 22 points, compared with men at 20 points, who stay informed, share news and information more frequently.
Ironically, trust did increase in a dozen of the 15 sectors analyzed.
Technology remains the most trusted segment with 78%, and manufacturing follows with 70%. Manufacturing experienced the largest jump with seven points. Financial services rose to 57% -- up two points -- but it was once again the least trusted sector globally.
Brands headquartered in Switzerland at 71%, Germany at 71%, Canada at 70%, and Japan at 69% are most trusted. The least-trusted brands are in Mexico at 36%, India at 40%, Brazil at 40%, and China at 41%.
Interestingly, a 2010 timeline shows trust became an essential topic in business, but it wasn’t until 2015 that trust became essential to innovation.
By 2017, trust moved into crisis mode and remained there in 2018 -- although the Global Trust Index did increase three points to neutral
last year -- yet 15 of the 26 markets surveyed still showed a high percentage of distrust.