Trust In Brands Waning, Study Finds

Only 71% of people trust consumer brands. Many trust brands less today compared with a year ago -- especially consumers between the ages of 18 to 24. The study released this week found an 11% decline in trust from consumers ranging in this age group, compared with the prior year. The most stable group overall, 25 to 34 years old.

Trustpilot commissioned independent behavioral insights company Canvas8 to explore what consumers value online and how reviews impact their behavior. The online survey analyzed responses from 2,152 people across the United States, the United Kingdom and France. The report — entitled Critical role of reviews in Internet Trust — reveals interesting trends around trust and use.

It turns out that 89% of consumers globally check reviews online before making a purchase, and many put their faith in the anonymous reviews of strangers. Some 45% said they use reviews more now than they have in the past.

Despite their reliance on reviews, the study also reveals a growing distrust among U.S. consumers when it comes to brands removing or censoring legitimate customer reviews. Some 72% are very concerned about the practice, which is real.

About 62% of consumers globally said they would stop using platforms that they knew censored reviews. One example, Traeger —  the company known for its meat and vegetable smokers — immediately pulled a negative review from its website. The consumer wrote a lengthy review about a defective model — Select Pro Pellet Grill — where the paint inside the smoker peeled while seasoning the grill. It happened on three grills, all the same product, according to the consumer.

Just more than half of consumers believe anyone with an opinion, excluding those who work for the company, should be able to write a review

Reviews drive consumers to make a purchase. The top three reasons in the United States include reliable product and services at 53%, positive consumer reviews at 51%, and sustainable and environmentally friendly at 41%. The top three reasons in the U.K. are the same, but the percentages vary: 51%, 50%, and 43%, respectively.

Some 61% of US consumers think it’s very important to know exactly how review websites choose to publish reviews. Many consider a large number of reviews with an average rating to be a better signal of trust than a high score with fewer reviews. More than half of consumers believes a less than perfect review score is more authentic.

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