Mon. Jun 17th, 2024

‘Never seen a reputational crash as dramatic’: Distrust in Coles and Woolworths soars

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun13,2024
Australians have become significantly less trusting of Coles and Woolworths, with both major supermarkets dropping down Roy Morgan’s latest quarterly rankings.
Woolworths had held the top spot on the trusted brand list since May 2020 when it overtook Bunnings, but dropped to second place in December 2023 amid .
Following Roy Morgan’s March survey, it’s now just the 34th most trusted brand overall.
Coles has dropped a “record-breaking” 221 places and is now Australia’s ninth least-trusted brand.
It had already fallen two places to fifth most trusted .
“We have been tracking trust and distrust of brands in Australia for more than seven years, but we have never seen a reputational crash as dramatic as Coles and Woolworths — not even Qantas,” Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said in a statement.
“This is in direct contrast to the soaring reputational trust that they gained during the pandemic.”
Levine said “even more dramatic reputational declines” were expected in the next quarter.
“The fate of Woolworths and Coles reveals how quickly distrust can gain momentum and negatively impact a brand’s reputation,” she said.

“There’s an old Dutch saying that trust arrives on foot but leaves on horseback. In other words, trust is slow to win but quick to lose.”

Australia’s most trusted brands

Bunnings remained the most trusted brand in Australia in the 12 months to March, after knocking Woolworths off the top spot last quarter.
Aldi has benefited from Woolworths’ fall from grace, as well, rising to second place.

Kmart also increased by one spot, while Apple and Toyota jumped two places each to round out the top five most trusted brands.

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Australia’s 10 most trusted brands in March 2024. Source: Supplied / Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia)

The biggest overall improvements in the trust rankings came from Nintendo (up 33 places), Cotton On (up 23 places), and Youi (up 18 places).

“Nintendo has developed a good reputation with consumers who credit the company for ‘always supporting the players’, ‘making devices that don’t break’, providing ‘good personal service’ and ‘making great family friendly and kids’ games’ — leading to a sharp rise in the console maker’s trust rankings,” Levine said.

Australia’s least trusted brands

Optus remained Australians’ least trusted brand for a third straight quarter.
The rest of the top five also remained unchanged with Facebook/Meta, Qantas, Telstra, and News Corp all holding firm.

One entry to the top 20 least trusted brands that was attracting increased criticism was Chinese-based online retailer Temu, with accusations including “their pictures are not what you get”, “their products seem dodgy and of poor quality”, “they collect the data of their customers”, and “they’re an organisation full of scammers”.

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Australia’s 10 least trusted brands in March 2024. Source: Supplied / Supplied / Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia)

Overall, Australians’ overall trust in companies dropped significantly in the last 12 months, as cost of living concerns and inflation increased.

“Soaring distrust has been driven by companies focusing too much on corporate profits and leaving the customer behind,” Levine said.
“Hiking prices to maintain profit levels is increasingly being seen as taking advantage of customer loyalty and leading to rising levels of distrust across the economy — and especially for banks and supermarkets.
“Previously, big banks have made large profit announcements, which went largely unremarked. However, over the last year with ongoing mortgage rate increases and , Australians are increasingly outraged that banks are making huge profits at their expense.”
Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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