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Healthcare is the industry that consumers trust most, according to a survey of over 15,000 adults across 15 countries by consultancy Morning Consult.

When asked in which industries trust is most important, half (50%) of consumers answered with healthcare companies, making the healthcare industry the one that has by far the highest expectations in terms of trustworthiness of companies.

Financial services and food beverages follow, both attracting one in three respondents. Notably, only 6% of consumers say they don’t trust any industries.

Industries in which consumers rate trust as more important need to be especially careful with their messaging; the healthcare industry, in particular, needs to pay special attention to establishing an emotional connection with consumers, a challenge which is complicated by the intense regulation of the industry.

Healthcare companies have experienced increasing trust because of their central role in the COVID-19 pandemic – one in five respondents reports that they trust health companies more than they did one year ago – which has created an opportunity for brands to build a more positive image. 

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There are, however, regional variations: for example, 82% of consumers globally trust their doctor to do the right thing, with the percentage jumping over 88% for Latin American countries (Mexico and Brazil), some European countries and Australia. Asian countries, however, lag behind, recording the lowest global levels of trust in doctors, reaching levels as low as 68% in South Korea and 67% in China.

Brands, though, need to be careful when treating healthcare like any other marketing category and may need to leverage a sense of purpose and develop distinctive brand assets, especially as health is expected to remain at the center of consumer decision-making beyond the pandemic.