PwC’s Global Consumer Insights Survey points to the soaring importance of social media – shoppers trusting the wisdom of the crowd – and the challenge, for brands and retailers alike, to be seen as authentic and trustworthy.
We asked consumers which factors, other than price, influence their decision to shop at a particular retailer. More than one in three (35%) ranked ‘trust in brand’ as among their top three reasons.
Among all respondents, 14% said trust in brand is the number one reason (other than price) why they shop at a retailer. But among respondents in China, 21% chose brand trust as their number one reason, more than any other territory that participated in our survey.
Although trust in the brand plays a strong role in determining where consumers shop, they rely heavily on other people’s opinions to decide what to buy. Social networks ranked first (37% of respondents) of online media they regularly use to find inspiration for their purchases. Chinese respondents again stood out, as their preference for social networks soared to 52%.
But consumers in some other territories rely even more heavily on social networks in this regard, with 70% of respondents from the Middle East selecting social networks, 58% from Indonesia and Malaysia, and 55% from Hungary.
For the most part, our survey respondents seem to trust retailers to collect data about their interactions and use the information to make individualised offers. Over 40% of survey respondents said they were comfortable having a retailer monitor their shopping patterns and purchases and expect a retailer to have up-to-date information on how they interact with it across all channels, including in store, online and social media.
But consumers generally seem less enthusiastic about the prospect of retailers knowing their physical locations. Among all respondents, only 34% said they would be happy for a retailer to identify when they are nearby and send them personalised offers via a mobile device.
Our survey asked respondents how they reduce the risk of online security issues and fraud. More than half said they only use credible and legitimate websites (57%) or choose providers they trust when making payments (51%).
It is notable that overall consumers’ security precautions seem to have decreased slightly since last year’s survey. This could mean that shoppers trust retailers more, and at the same time it may also imply raised expectations for reliable security.