Australia Post, Apple rise on ‘most trusted brands’ list; trust issues with Macca’s

The latest installment of net trust scores from Roy Morgan has revealed supermarkets and retailers were the big winners in 2021, filling out seven of the top 10 rankings for most trusted brands.

Supermarket retailer Woolworths topped the listed, with Coles, Bunnings Warehouse, ALDI and Kmart also making the top five, all unchanged since the previous quarter. Retailers Myer and Big W also made the top 10, as well as automotive company Toyota and insurer NRMA.

Big improvements were seen by Australia Post, which moved up six places to achieve 11th place, and Apple, which also jumped six placed, to land at 15th.

The results reflect a strong year for the Australian economy, which grew 4.2% in the year to December 2021 and 3.4% in the December quarter alone, in what was the fastest quarterly growth for the economy for 45 years since March 1976.

This growth has lead to a retail sales boom which began early in the pandemic and continues into 2022. In the most recent month available, retail sales growth in February 2022 increased at an annual rate of 9.1% compared to February 2021. This compares to the pre-pandemic annual retail sales growth of 1.9% in January and February 2020.

According to Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine, supermarkets and big retailers have been big winners over the last two years as Australians have been ‘boosted’ with pandemic stimulus, and prevented from holidaying overseas, leading them to spend their money at home, increasing retail sales to record levels.

“Australia’s big retailers have enjoyed a bumper pandemic, and the increases in retail sales have also provided a rocket to the level of trust Australians hold in these companies they’ve relied on during the last two years to keep their fridges, cupboards and wardrobes well-stocked.

“Big two supermarkets Woolworths and Coles have again held their spots as the most trusted brands in Australia in December 2021 with big hardware retailer Bunnings Warehouse, fellow supermarket ALDI, and department store Kmart all holding their positions in the top five.

“Other brands to improve their ratings included Myer, up one place to ninth, Australia Post, up six places to 11th and Apple, up six places to 15th overall. As Australia leaves the lockdown/closed borders stage of the pandemic behind it will be interesting to see whether retailers can hold their spots at the top of the rankings when Australians have other options to spend their hard-earned cash on.

“The growing threat of inflation in the economy also presents a challenge to retailers about whether to pass on costs to consumers or let the inflation in the supply chain eat into their profitability.”

The research also revealed the top 20 list of Australia’s most distrusted brands, with McDonald’s re-entering the top 20 list, alongside fellow distrusted brands including Amazon, Harvey Norman, Uber, Twitter and Crown Resorts.

For Levine the big ‘loser’ in the latest Roy Morgan Risk Report was McDonald’s.

“Fast-food retailer McDonald’s has been the biggest mover with increasing distrust, and also a decrease in trust, in the ‘golden arches’ leading to a big jump in the distrust rankings – up 12 places to 15th overall.

“Driving the big increase in distrust are people who say McDonald’s is ‘too motivated by profit and greedy’ as well as ‘lacking integrity’ and ‘Ultimately the food is mass-produced rubbish’.

“There were also many respondents who raised issues with the way they treat their largely young staff: ‘McDonald’s are a bad employer who exploit people in school for profit whilst not caring about the health or wellbeing of their employees’ and ‘McDonald’s exploits their workers by not paying them a fair wage’ and even that ‘McDonald’s is now using technology to replace staff’.

“McDonald’s has had a long-standing reputation for having ‘poor quality’ and ‘low standards’ but the rising complaints about their exploitation of workers and their ‘greedy’ and ‘profit driven’ corporate structure are now seeing distrust in the company become a real issue to confront going forward.”


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