Summer 2020

Consumer Trust

Summer 2020:
Consumer Trust

Every day, people share information with brands, whether they are mundane things like the browser used to access a website or a bit more personal like a birthday. In some cases, what is shared and how it is used is clear, sensible, and unconcerning. In other cases, people may rightfully have concerns. Understanding that innovation and improvement requires meaningful audience understanding, the need for trust between individuals and companies is tantamount. 

To that end, are people confident that the information they share will be respected and protected? How does trust vary by industry, and what does that tell us? 

To answer these questions, DISQO conducted a survey of its audience members, asking for their attitudes on trust towards the following sources:

  • Financial institutions
  • Online retailers
  • Market research firms
  • Media companies
  • Search engines
  • Social media platforms

The full results of the first six editions of the study — encompassing the first half of 2020 — are available for download via the form on the right. Below, we share a few highlights.

Thank you!

Trust by Source

The top trusted source includes financial institutions (73%), followed by online retailers (62%) and market research firms (61%). Media companies (53%), search engines (46%), and social media sites (41%) rank last.

Average Trust Level by Age Group

On a scale from strong distrust (1) to strong trust (7), 18 to 24 year-olds hold the highest trust level among age groups (4.82). This number steadily declines with age, making seniors 75 years old and over the least trusting (4.25).

Shifts in Trusting Social Media Sites

Over the course of six months, trust in social media has grown by 24% — the largest increase seen within a category. Climbing steadily from 33% in January, it experienced a slight drop in May (-4%), but increased to 41% in June. Nevertheless, social media still remains as the least trusted source.

Shifts in Trusting Market Research Firms

Approximately 61% of people report trusting market research firms in June 2020, which is larger than the trust for media companies, search engines, and social media sites! Over the course of six months, this category has experienced a 15% increase in trust.


Surveys were conducted online, distributed to a nationally representative sample of DISQO Audience members within the United States via the Survey Junkie platform, which is wholly owned by DISQO. Surveys were taken on both desktop and mobile devices. 

Each survey was distributed at the beginning of the month, with responses collected through the last day of the month. Distribution dates and respondent volume for each survey are as follows:

Survey Distribution by Edition
DISQO Consumer Trust Study, January through June 2020
Survey Edition Collection Period Respondents
Month 1 January n = 27,496
Month 2 February n = 27,580
Month 3 March n = 29,322
Month 4 April n = 30,350
Month 5 May n = 32,530
Month 6 June n = 31,163


DISQO is a consumer-first insights platform that delivers unprecedented data and analytics to the market research industry. The company powers insights professionals and marketers with automated solutions that drive consumer research and improve ad effectiveness. Today, DISQO delivers an accurate and complete view of the consumer via technology built on the foundation of the largest first-party research audience. By engaging consumers who choose to share their attitudes and behaviors, DISQO captures the highest quality data, empowering its clients to make confident decisions. Founded in 2015, DISQO is headquartered in Los Angeles, California, and has over 140 employees.