NEWS26 June 2020

Low level of trust in data analytics, finds GRBN Trust Survey

Covid-19 Data analytics News Privacy UK

UK – There is a high level of distrust in data analytics companies in the UK, according to research from the Global Research Business Network (GRBN).

The GRBN Global Trust Survey, which surveyed 4,964 respondents in 10 countries, found that UK levels of trust in institutions fall below the global average, driven largely by distrust in media, social media and data analytics companies.

In both the UK and Germany, the research found a high level of distrust in data analytics businesses ( 33% of UK respondents said they do not trust them, 18% trusted them, and 43% were ‘not sure’). The only institutions ranked lower in the index were media companies (not trusted by 44%) and social media firms ( 53%).

In contrast, relative to other countries, trust in election and opinion polling organisations is strongest in the UK ( 36% said they trust them, 22% do not trust, while 39% were not sure).

Globally, 34% of global respondents said they trust market research companies, compared to 16% not trusting ( 45% were ‘not sure’). In the UK, this was slightly lower at 26%, and 21% said they do not trust them, while 49% were unsure.

Respondents in the UK could see the benefit of market research to businesses ( 63%) more clearly than they could to themselves ( 32% perceived it to be beneficial to them), and to individuals in general – both as consumers ( 40%) and citizens ( 30%).

There was concern among UK respondents over how their personal data is used by organisations, with only a quarter ( 25%) saying that they feel informed by market research companies about how their data is collected, stored and used.

On average, health authorities and local police are the most trusted of the institutions included in the survey, at 56% and 53%. In the UK, levels are higher than the global average for both – 61% of respondents said they trust health services and 58% reported trusting the police. Net trust in market research firms had not been affected by Covid-19, according to the study.

Globally, trust in media companies and social media firms was most impacted by the pandemic, dropping by 16% and 11% respectively. Trust in government dropped overall, most significantly in Brazil (-46%), Japan (-45%) and the US (-32%).

The GRBN partnered with 10 national research associations globally, including MRS (Market Research Society) in the UK, and 15 corporate partners, including Opinium in the UK, to conduct the GRBN Global Trust Survey.

Jane Frost, chief executive of MRS, said: “The value of quality data, insight and evidence has grown exponentially amid the Covid-19 crisis and the findings of the GRBN Global Trust Survey are a prime example. Trust is a cornerstone of long-term business success and some organisations and sectors have seen significant shifts in how they are perceived. For those in particular, understanding these changes will be pivotal in shaping their commercial strategies and rebuilding after the crisis.” 

James Endersby, chief executive of Opinium, said: “During uncertain times, reliable and accurate data that we can trust and rely on is vital for decision-making at all levels. From a research sector perspective, it’s good news that trust hasn't been significantly impacted by the crisis. Like Opinium, many agencies have been helping organisations navigate through extremely choppy waters, including holding national governments to account with regular political opinion polling.”

The results are based on the responses of 4,964 people aged 18+ in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Korea, Japan, Mexico, Peru, the UK and the US, who completed the online survey between 27th April-7thMay. Responses were weighted to reflect the adult population in each country in terms of age, sex and region.

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