NEW DELHI: Overall levels of brand trust in India are falling, with a “trust gap” emerging, according to an annual consumer survey to establish the country’s most trusted brands.

The latest edition of the Brand Trust Report from TRA Research was based on a survey of around 2,500 consumer influencers – defined as 21-50 year-old working professionals in the A/A+ socio-economic class – in 16 cities.

This found that a total of 307 brands showed higher trust levels compared to 370 brands which saw trust levels fall, the Business Standard reported. A net -63 score marked a sharp departure from the results of the previous two studies which returned figures of -25 and -14.

“The key takeaway from this year’s study was that there were lower number of brands that rose in terms of trust versus those who reported falling trust levels,” observed N Chandramouli, chief executive officer, TRA Research.

“The number of brands rising or falling in trust is indicative of the general consumer disposition towards the environment,” he explained. “Their response is basically an indicator of attitudes and moods towards brands.

“It can be understood as a framework of expectancy, which is on the lower side this year. Plus, dissatisfaction levels of consumers towards brands is also on the rise,” Chandramouli added.

A ranking of the top 20 most trusted brands was dominated by brands in the consumer electronics, technology, mobile phones, auto and sports-wear categories.

Food & beverage and FMCG brands were the key contributors in terms of volume share in the 2018 trust report at 25.6% but only one – Patanjali – featured in the top 20.

Overall trust levels in these two categories have dropped over the past year, by 69% for food & beverages and by 44% for FMCG.

Other sectors to record significant falls included television media (-80%) and transportation (-40%), but the greatest decline was in direct-to-home (-211%).

“The trust fall in DTH is largely on account of its replacement by disruptive internet and mobile app-based services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hotstar,” said Chandramouli.

“The big fall in trust in media (TV), however, is a cause for concern, since media holds enormous power that can enhance or erode consumer trust.”

Categories showing higher trust levels included entertainment, education, hospitality and technology.

Sourced from Business Standard; additional content by WARC staff