More than 60% of business leaders in the global consumer markets industry said that building consumer trust is a core value, and nearly one-third say trust will be one of their biggest challenges over the next one to two years — second only to expansion and top line growth.
Those findings were published Monday by KPMG International and The Consumer Goods Forum in advance of CGF’s annual summit scheduled this week in New York.
The "2015 Top of Mind" survey focuses on what is top of mind for senior decision makers in the consumer food, drink, goods and retail industry. The survey of 539 consumer industry executives from 41 countries revealed that the majority of respondents said they have knowledge of consumers’ behavior, although only one in five had a strong confidence in this knowledge. A further 20% could not definitively claim that they have an accurate picture of what items their own customers are buying from their competitors versus themselves.
The report suggests that some segments of the consumer industry lack understanding of the needs of their customers, an issue which could be hampering business growth. In response, businesses are attempting to close this “knowledge gap” by engaging more with customers as a pathway to growth. According to the report, there are two key priorities which companies are focusing on, apart from growth and expansion: an omni-channel customer focus and winning consumer trust.
The "Top of Mind" survey found that as well as understanding their customers, businesses need to win their trust and are starting to treat it as a core value.
The survey highlighted a number of key trends:
- Nearly one in three respondents (30%) said they have recently increased their investment in the area of consumer trust.
- Two-thirds of respondents commented that they saw investing in CSR or sustainability as a key part of building trust in their brand. Food and product safety and consumer health were rated as particularly important areas of CSR.
- These strategies respond to the growing importance of gaining consumer trust, the survey said, citing recent reports finding that nearly two-thirds of the consumers surveyed “refuse to buy products and services from companies they do not trust”; 68% said they would “recommend a company they trusted to others.”
“The world is changing for consumer-facing businesses. We’d encourage all of our members to invest in fully understanding their customers and their expectations in key areas such as sustainability, health and wellness and food safety,” Peter Freedman, managing director of The Consumer Goods Forum, said in a statement. “Without this insight, firms will struggle to win loyalty and trust which is essential to remain competitive in the digital age of a two-way dialog between brands and consumers.”
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