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Identifying Consumer Trust in Data Privacy — March 2020

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As brands begin to pay more attention to data protection and privacy concerns, how has consumer trust shifted? Regardless of brand reach or industry, people expect their sensitive information to be handled with care.

As data privacy is important, we continue to check in with our community to gauge the changes in their attitudes over time. Recently, more than 29,000 people responded to the third edition of our Consumer Trust Survey, which provides insights into the top trusted organizations and observes trends across demographics.

Top Trusted Sites

Over the last three months, financial institutions have remained as the most trusted organization (73%). Online retailers (60%) come second, followed very closely by market research companies (59%). Media companies (50%) come third on the list, with search engines (44%) and social media sites (36%) placing last.

Although trust across all sources has seen an increase since January, some sites have experienced a larger improvement than others. Trust in market research has seen the largest increase (+25%), while trust in financial institutions (+10%) has experienced the smallest change.

Response Variation

When looking at response variation for the month of March, an interesting trend emerged. All sources saw a two-point difference in response variation except social platforms, which saw a three-point difference. This wider distribution of trust levels for social sites may suggest a disparity dependent on which platform was top of mind to the individual at the time of taking the survey. It may also speak to broader consumer confusion regarding the privacy policies and security measures in place on social media platforms. Irrespective of cause, the sheer volume of negative responses illuminates the opportunity — and necessity — to improve the reputation of social media overall.

Trust Level by Age

Since last month, we notice an increase in trust across all age groups — a positive sign that company efforts are strengthening the relationship between customers and brands. Continuing to foster trust between companies and clients can not only lead to a more enjoyable user experience but can help brands grow over time.

Similar to January and February, however, we notice that trust decreases with age. This trend is most apparent when looking at average trust levels for each age, rather than trends across age groups.


In positive news, this edition of the survey has marked a measurable increase in consumer trust, despite the persistence of declination of trust with age. As always, room for improvement remains, and DISQO will continue to monitor shifts over time. After all, fostering trust takes more than robust protection methods and clear, reassuring communications. It requires consistently tuning in to how people feel, and using the insights gleaned to continually improve.

About the Study

The Consumer Trust Survey is an ongoing survey which assesses trust in various sources to protect and respect personal information. This edition was conducted in March 2020 and reached 29,323 members of the DISQO Audience.

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