Telco and CPG sectors have gotten big boosts in consumer trust

A pandemic update to Edelman's annual report shows confidence in business has gone up overall, but areas of improvement remain.


When it comes to trust gains for front line sectors, telcos and CPGs are leading the way, outpacing even the healthcare sector.

For a spring update to Edelman’s Trust Barometer that factors in the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the global PR firm surveyed 13,200 respondents in 11 markets, including 1,200 in Canada, between April 15 and April 23, 2020.

None of the sectors covered in the update had a decrease in trust compared to when this year’s regular barometer came out in January. Telcos and CPGs had the biggest boosts among Canadian respondents, with 19% and 17% higher trust ratings, respectively – helping telcos pull out of their spot as the least-trusted sector in the country. They were followed by healthcare (which had a 14% increase, still the most-trusted sector in Canada), financial services (a 12% increase, pulling it out of a tie for second-least trusted sector) and food and beverage sectors (an 11% increase, putting it ahead of the education and technology sectors).

The hotel, insurance and airline sectors were the only sectors to not get an increase in consumer trust – leaving them as the three least-trusted sectors among Canadians.

But despite overall trust in business going up by 8%, Edelman points out that there are some areas of improvement when it comes to the pandemic: only 53% of Canadians surveyed believe business is doing well or very well at “ensuring the products and services that people need most are readily available and easily accessible.” Only 48% of Canadians believe businesses are doing a good job of protecting essential employees who may be at risk of exposure to the virus.

The business trust boost also does not extend to CEOs overall, with 28% of Canadians believing they are “doing an outstanding job meeting the demands placed on them by the pandemic,” compared to 31% who said the same of the heads of non-profits, 54% who said the same of national governments and 55% who said the same of local governments.

Over half (53%) of respondents expect businesses to provide economic relief and support, the biggest role they are expected to play in the crisis; however, there are still far more people (91%) who expect the government to provide that relief. And only 19% of Canadians expect businesses to inform the public about the pandemic, compared to 82% who expect the government and 61% who expect the media to do so.

Trust in the media has also gone up by 5%, with the biggest gains for traditional media (up 10% to 75%); though they also experienced gains, owned media, social media and search engines still rank below Edelman’s 60% threshold for being regarded as trustworthy.