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GRBN Global Trust Survey highlights impact of Covid-19

Little change for market research companies, while trust in health authorities increases and trust in media and social media companies takes a hit

New findings from the GRBN Global Trust Survey show how trust in Australian research companies compares with that in other sectors and, for the first time, how it has been affected by the Covid-19 crisis.

The Global Research Business Network (GRBN) has partnered with ten national research associations from across the globe, including The Research Society in Australia, and 14 corporate partners, including TEG Insights in Australia, to conduct the GRBN Global Trust Survey.

Results published on 25th June 2020, show that 34% of global respondents personally trust market research companies, slightly higher than the 27% of people that claim they do in Australia.

On average, health authorities and local police are the most trusted of the organisations included in the survey at 56% and 53%.  In Australia, levels of trust are significantly higher – 72% of Australian respondents trust their health services and 63% say they trust the police.

Media companies, secret service organisations and social media companies sit at the bottom of the global table.  Over half of Australians have no trust in social media companies, and half do not trust media companies. This lack of trust is similar to that expressed in Britain and surpassed only by Germany, where 63% of people have no trust in social media companies.

Impact of Covid-19

This year’s survey also provides valuable insight into how trust in different sectors has been affected by the Covid-19 health and economic emergency.  In recent months, the net index for trust in market research companies has dipped by 2% on average across all of the participating countries and by 1% in Australia.  Globally, trust in media companies and social media companies has been most impacted by the crisis and fallen 16% and 11% respectively.

The emergency has adversely affected trust in Government overall, but there are significant differences between countries. In Australia, the emergency has had a positive influence, with 29% of people claiming they now have greater trust in the Government. In contrast, some countries have recorded significant falls in trust in Government, including Brazil (-46%), Japan (-45%) and the US (-32%)

Among participating countries, trust in the health authorities that have been at the forefront of the pandemic has risen by 15%.  The improvement in perceptions is stronger in Australia, where 29% of people express greater trust in health authorities as a result of the emergency.

Elissa Molloy CEO of The Research Society, comments: Trust remains important and this piece of research shows that some organisations and sectors have seen significant shifts in how they are perceived as a result of this global pandemic.  For those in particular, understanding these changes will be pivotal in shaping their commercial strategies and rebuilding after the crisis.  Thank you to GRBN for its commitment to this survey, to the other associations and partners involved and to Peter Harris, our Australian representative on the GRBN Leadership team, for his thought-leadership piece on the Australian results.

Lisa Salas from TEG Insights, comments: Trust is not only about the individual’s willingness to trust, but also how organisations establish and act on that trust. As a result of how well Australia has handled Covid-19, the survey result show an increase in trust of health authorities, government, and law enforcement. In order for MR to continue to be robust and sustainable in Australia, we need to improve our “trust ranking” by strengthening public trust and confidence in the protection of their personal information and being respectful of the role people play as the source that drives insights in the global data economy.

The full GRBN Global Trust Survey report is available to download here:


Notes to Editors

About GRBN

  • Global Research Business Network connects 45 research associations and over 3500 research businesses on six continents.
  • More than US$25 billion in annual research revenues (turnover) are generated by these businesses.
  • GRBN’s mission is to promote and advance the business of research by developing and supporting strong autonomous national research associations.

Twitter: @grbn_org

About The Research Society

  • The Research Society is the leading research association in Australia.
  • It supports the careers of research professionals with specialist training and professional qualification (QPR), professional membership, mentoring, networking opportunities and research awards.
  • The Research Society partners with research agencies and end-client organisations that commission research, in commercial and government sectors, and provides additional organisational discounts and benefits to them as well as included individual membership for their employees.
  • The Research Society is underpinned by a strong ethical Code of Professional Behaviour for its individual members and company and client partners that aligns with the Australian Privacy Principles.
  • It supports company partners to certify to globally recognised ISO standards and it has exclusive rights in Australia to the Fair Data program that ensures companies collect, store and use the general public’s personal data and information in line with Australian Privacy and EU GDPR requirements.
  • The Research Society is a founding member of the Global Research Business Network (GRBN) that links 45 research associations globally.

For further information, please contact:

Elissa Molloy

CEO, The Research Society
GRBN Executive Management Board
+61 2 9566 3100

About The Research Society 1081 Articles
The Research Society is the peak body for research, insights and analytics professionals in Australia. It has a diverse membership of individuals at all levels of experience and seniority within agencies, consultancies, client-side organisations, the non-profit and government sectors, support services as well as institutions and the academic community. As well as over 2,000 individual members, the Research Society has 125+ company and client partners, with the number continuing to grow. The Research Society research professionals and company partners commit to and are regulated by the Research Society Code of Professional Behaviour.