Woolworths and Coles lose client belief

Roy Morgan has released its rankings of the most and least trusted brands in the 12 months to March 2024, revealing the major supermarkets have fallen from grace.

Woolworths plunged from second spot in the last report, down 32 places to 34th most trusted overall. Coles is down from the fifth most trusted brand in the 12 months to December 2023 to the ninth most distrusted brand – an unprecedented fall of 221 places in the rankings.

“The fate of Woolworths and Coles reveals how quickly distrust can gain momentum and negatively impact a brand’s reputation,” said Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine.

“There’s an old Dutch saying that trust arrives on foot but leaves on horseback. In other words, trust is slow to win but quick to lose,” she said.

Proving not all supermarkets are the same, or under the same scrutiny, ALDI is now Australia’s second most trusted brand – behind hardware chain Bunnings and marginally ahead of discount department store Kmart in third place.

Australian distrust for companies has grown significantly in the last year, according to Roy Morgan, as cost-of- living concerns and high inflation have increased concern about companies being motivated by high profits and corporate greed, excessive price hikes, dishonesty and not being focused enough on putting the customer first.

The insights highlight the importance of businesses prioritising ethical behaviour and transparency to rebuild consumer trust and restore confidence in the business community.

“Soaring distrust has been driven by companies focusing too much on corporate profits and leaving the customer behind,” Ms Levine said. “Hiking prices to maintain profit levels is increasingly being seen as taking advantage of customer loyalty and leading to rising levels of distrust across the economy – and especially for banks and supermarkets.”

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