With an uncertain Brexit around the corner, consumer confidence in business has fallen to a dramatic low. New survey data released today (Thursday 23 August) reveals that just over one third of people (36%) believe that most companies in the UK are fair to consumers,1 down from 44% in 2000 and 61% in 1983 in previous offline research.2
Over three out of four people (76%) now believe that big business benefits owners at the expense of its workers. At the same time, some businesses retain high levels of consumer trust. Over six out of ten people (62%) surveyed trust co-operative businesses, such as The Co-op Group or John Lewis, which are owned by their members who all have a say in how the business is run.
“The co-operative way is to give a voice to those involved in the business and we are seeing an increase in people attracted to this way of working," Ed Mayo, Secretary General, Co-operatives UK
The YouGov survey, which updates research carried out in the last 40 years, was commissioned by Co-operatives UK, the trade body for co-operatives – a sector worth £36 billion to the UK economy.
Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, said: "High street closures, falling profits and uncertainty around Brexit makes this an extraordinarily challenging period for British business, but it will be tougher still if the UK has indeed hit a new low in terms of consumer confidence in business."
The survey found that the strongest driver for whether people trust businesses comes from being a good employer, with 72% believing this made for a trustworthy business, followed by passing on savings to customers (69%), behaving fairly (67%) and a three way tie for fourth with 55%, which was supporting their local communities or caring for the environment and sharing profits with its employees/ shareholders
“The co-operative way is to give a voice to those involved in the business and we are seeing an increase in people attracted to this way of working," added Ed Mayo. "Perhaps it is time for UK Plc, before it is too late, to recast its relationship with customers and employees in a more co-operative spirit."
The YouGov survey follows on from last month's Co-op Economy report, published by Co-operatives UK, which revealed that new co-ops are almost twice as likely as start-up companies to survive their first five years.
1YouGov survey carried out on behalf of Co-operatives UK (7-8 June 2018). Sample 2,100 UK adults
2MacGillivray A. (2002) What’s Trust Worth? New Economics Foundation