News Analysis: Consumer Trust Goes Local

Article excerpt

Brands perceived as personal and accessible are winning through in the downturn.

The speed at which supermarkets have responded to the economic downturn with value offers has meant that they are now more trusted than the media, banks, airlines and politicians, according to McCann Erickson's latest Moodier Britain survey.

The latest phase of the research, carried out on 1028 adults between February and October, shows that half of those polled for the study, last conducted in March (Marketing, 25 June), have little trust in banks, with a quarter stating they have no trust in them at all; fewer than one in 10 trusts politicians. In comparison, 54% of people trust their supermarket, suggesting that they have successfully communicated that they are on the side of consumers, despite rising food prices.

Price rises at the forecourts have also led to mistrust of oil companies; 45% of respondents said they don't trust them at all, while a further 41% said they have little trust in petrol suppliers.

In addition, energy suppliers should be concerned, because cutting down on heating is among the first areas consumers are likely to rein in spend first.

This is indicative of the fact that now that the worldwide economic malaise is beginning to hit people in the pocket, previous concerns about the environment, war in Iraq and terrorism have slipped down the public agenda, to be replaced by bread-and-butter issues.

Growing concerns

The research shows that uncertainty has grown and, perhaps predictably, the state of the economy has replaced immigration and crime as the nation's primary concern.

In March, just 24% of Britons said they were concerned about the impact of the credit crunch, compared with 60% today. However, what is more interesting is that while the macro-economic situation was already worrying people in March, it had not yet affected personal finances. …