Two-thirds of adults in the US say that trust in a brand has a great deal (31%) or a lot (37%) of influence on their decision when making a big purchase, reports SurveyMonkey in recently-released research. Adults in the US aren’t alone in the importance they place on trust: a majority of respondents in the UK (57%) and Canada (69%) also say that trust in a brand has a great deal or a lot of impact on their decision-making.

The results bring to mind previous research from Edelman, in which consumers around the world said they are more likely to buy and recommend products from trusted companies. And CMOs of B2C companies themselves recognize that trusting relationships are more important to consumers than low prices and innovation, per research from The CMO Survey [pdf].

Trust’s influence over large purchase decisions is relatively consistent across age groups, according to SurveyMonkey’s report. There does appear to be a gender gap, though, with women (72%) more likely to attribute a large degree of influence to brand trust than men (63%).

Established Brands Favored Over Startups

Likely as a result of the degree to which brand trust plays a role in purchase decisions, consumers would overwhelmingly prefer to buy from an established brand than a startup brand, especially for larger categories.

For example, within the US 92% of respondents would prefer to buy medical care from an established brand than a new startup brand (8%). Similar skews towards established brands are also apparent for consumer electronics and financial services purchases.

For a low-stakes item like shoes, though, there’s more margin for error and consumers are more adventurous. Imagining they were in the market for a new pair of shoes, slightly fewer than two-thirds (64%) would opt for a well-established brand rather than a new startup brand (36%). That is a near-2:1 ratio, but isn’t as clearcut as with the larger purchases.

Notably, women in the US were more likely than men to say they’d prefer to purchase a pair of shoes from a new startup brand, even though they were less likely to prefer startup brands for the more high-stakes purchases.

Interestingly enough, when asked to imagine a trusted brand producing a spinoff brand, two-thirds of respondents in the US said they would trust the spinoff brand about the same amount as the original brand. However while it’s not surprising that few (8%) would trust the spinoff brand more, 1 in 4 respondents said they’d trust it less than the original brand.

A study released last year by AYTM revealed that 8 in 10 consumers in the US at least somewhat agree that they’re more likely to trust brands that have been around for a long time.

Poor Product Experience Breaks Trust

The biggest reason why people would lost trust in a company? A poor experience with the product, cited as a trust-breaker by 81% of respondents in the US, 73% in the UK and 71% in Canada. High-quality products and services have previously been cited as one of the top building blocks of trust in companies, and consumers likewise do say that product quality is key to their loyalty.

However the experience counts too. Almost as many would lose trust in a company due to a poor customer service experience, which would impact 78% in the US, 65% in the UK and 70% in Canada.

Other trust-breakers include a security breach (for 49% in the US), offensive ads (for 46% in the US) and a leadership scandal (for 36% in the US).

The loss of trust can have a significant impact on businesses. In recently-released research, Accenture Strategy determined that 54% of 7,000 companies analyzed had experienced a “material” drop in trust at some point in the previous 2-and-a-half years. These companies were ascertained to have at least $180 billion of revenues at stake as a result of the drop in trust. One example given concerns a $30 billion retail company, which would stand to lose $4 billion in future revenue due to a material drop in trust.

A Website Matters More Than A Social Media Account

Finally, results from the SurveyMonkey study indicate that consumers aren’t too phased by a brand lacking social media accounts, but a missing website is a bit more disturbing.

In the US, only 18% of respondents said they have a great deal (7%) or a lot (11%) of trust in a company that does not have a website, including just 1 in 10 respondents ages 18-34.

However, more than twice as many (38%) have a great deal (14%) or a lot (24%) of trust in a company that does not have social media accounts. Once again there’s a large disparity between younger and older respondents in this regard: only 19% of 18-34-year-olds would have a large degree of trust in a company that doesn’t have social media accounts, while 54% of respondents ages 65 and up would have that amount of trust.

The full survey results can be accessed here.

About the Data: The results are based on online surveys conducted from October 5-7, 2018 among 3,053 adults in the US (1,036), UK (1,010) and Canada (1,007). The data has been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography.

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