Australian consumers have comparatively low trust levels compared to their counterparts in the Asia Pacific region when it comes to brands online, a new Kantar TNS study shows.
Kantar’s 2017 Connected Life study comprised a survey of 70,000 people across 56 countries, including 104 in-depth interviews, designed to shed light on the challenges faced by brands seeking to win over sceptical consumers.
The study explored consumer trust in brands across the areas of technology, content, data and e-commerce, revealing a “consumer trust divide” between more suspicious consumers in developed nations, as opposed to more accepting consumers in emerging countries.
According to the study, only 19% of consumers in Australia say they trust global brands, the lowest in the Asia Pacific region.
“Thanks to an explosion in the levels of connectivity across the region, brands now have the ability to interact with consumers whenever and wherever,” commented Nitin Nishandar, Kantar regional managing director, brand and shopper.
“However, instead of forging closer relationships, intense over-communication has led to the emergence of cynicism amongst consumers in more developed markets.”
Emerging countries, by contrast, have not traditionally seen brands have the same level of interaction with consumers.
“Consumers here are still open and enthusiastic about the possibilities that the online world presents — they are interested in what brands have to say and trust them with their personal data,” Nishandar said.
Across the Asia Pacific region, 52% of consumers in developed nations are concerned about the amount of personal information companies have on them, as opposed to 31% in emerging countries.
Meanwhile, 44% of consumers in emerging countries are willing to interact with a machine, such as a chatbot, if it means their query is dealt with more quickly. However this drops to 29% in developed nations.
The study found that 47% of consumers in Australia find the content brands post on social media channels irrelevant, while 50% expressed concern about social networks’ control of what users see in their feeds.
When it comes to mobile payments, despite the introduction of new technologies streamlining the e-commerce process, Australians rank as the most unwilling to take to their smartphones in the region, with 53% not wanting to pay for anything using their mobile.
“Brands in emerging countries see higher levels of consumer trust today than those in developed ones but they shouldn’t take it for granted,” said Michael Nicholas, Kantar global lead of connected solutions.
“To build and protect trust, brands need to put the customer first.
“That means understanding their motivations, understanding the right moments to engage with them, respecting their time as valuable, and being more transparent about how and when they collect and use their personal data. Above all, that means putting the customer first — something that many marketers have forgotten to do.”