Aussie supermarkets top the most trusted brands during the pandemic

Roy Morgan brand survey finds supermarkets, major retailers topped the list, while banks improved in terms of distrust

Australia’s supermarkets and major retailers have topped the table when it comes to winning consumer trust during the pandemic year, according to a new report.  

The Risk Monitor, Roy Morgan’s monthly survey of public levels of trust and distrust of brands, found supermarkets and major retailers won more trust than any other brands during the pandemic year to March 2021.  

Of more than 900 brands across 26 industry sectors, supermarkets, Woolworths and Coles, moved up the survey ranking to first and second places respectively among most trusted brands nominated by more than 20,000 Australians. They were followed by Bunnings Warehouse in third place, then supermarket, Aldi.

The ‘essential’ nature of these businesses kept them top of mind for the public as people worried about supplies of food and essentials such as toilet paper. Supermarkets’ ability to stay open and keep stocking shelves reassured customers, Roy Morgan CEO, Michele Levine, said.
“Woolworths and Coles both moved up the ladder during the COVID period with their ability to keep …. households well-stocked during several lockdowns which forced the closure of other retailers for sometimes months on end,” Levine said.   

Ongoing trading at Bunnings and Aldi also soothed public concerns, with Bunnings’ niche for building materials and tools giving it a unique position at a time when building and repairing was booming for professional tradies and house-bound DIYers alike.

Across the top 10, Kmart moved up three positions from a pre-pandemic ninth place to take up sixth place, as the people with more time at home observed their surroundings, filled gaps and made lockdown life more cosy. Other businesses to leap up ladder’s included Apple, which jumped 78 places to land seventh behind Kmart, followed by Toyota, Australians’favourite car maker, which moved up to eighth. Although there were fewer flights, Qantas also moved up to fifth place.

The Risk Report also showed which brands plummeted in the public’s esteem. Brands entering the top 10 most distrusted for the first time included Amazon, Rio Tinto and Chinese telecommunications giant, Huawei. Crown Resorts, Uber, Twitter and TikTok were new entrants into the top 20 most distrusted list.
On the flip side, leading banks including NAB, ANZ and CBA showed improvement in terms of distrust, with all three dropping well below the top 10 most distrusted brands.   

“Distrust remains the number one risk factor for the nation’s companies because it is the toxic element in brand equity,”said Levine.“A look at the new brands to enter the top 20 most distrusted brands list reveals a litany of missteps and controversies over the last year. These included Rio Tinto’s destruction of the 46,000-year-old Juukan indigenous heritage site, concerns about Chinese government influence for Huawei and Tiktok, and legal and licensing problems for Crown Resorts related to large-scale money laundering.”

Roy Morgan’s Risk Monitor surveys approximately 1800 Australians monthly to measure levels of trust and distrust in more than 900 brands. Respondents are asked which brands and companies they trust and why, which brand and companies they distrust and why.  

Read more: Why customer trust is more vital to brand survival than it's ever been

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