Roy Morgan Research
July 05, 2021

Supermarkets dominate Australia’s most trusted brands in 2021 led by Woolworths, Coles, Bunnings & ALDI

Finding No: 8744
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The COVID-19 pandemic has swept Australia over the last year and a half and although Australia’s overall handling of the pandemic has been highly lauded we are still in the midst of a vaccine rollout on the way back to a ‘new normal’.

The COVID-19 pandemic has swept Australia over the last year and a half and although Australia’s overall handling of the pandemic has been highly lauded we are still in the midst of a vaccine rollout on the way back to a ‘new normal’.

The pandemic has led to a retail sales boom on the back of record Government support for the economy and it is perhaps unsurprising that leading supermarket and retail brands fill five of the top six spots as Australia’s most trusted brands.

Roy Morgan data scientists analysed nominations from more than 20,000 Australians to identify the nation’s 20 most trusted brands, and 20 most distrusted brands.

The latest Roy Morgan Risk Report reveals the nation’s two largest supermarket brands, Woolworths and Coles took out first and second places on the list of most trusted brands in the country in early 2021 followed closely by leading hardware retailer Bunnings Warehouse and fellow supermarket ALDI in fourth.

According to Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine, the essential nature of these businesses has kept them front and centre for Australians prevented from engaging in many activities deemed ‘non-essential’, “Woolworths and Coles have both moved up the trust league ladder during the COVID period with their supply of food and drink (and toilet paper) keeping the economy moving, and households well-stocked, during several lockdowns which forced the closure of other retailers for sometimes months on end.

“Bunnings Warehouse and ALDI have maintained their high standings in third and fourth with Bunnings remaining open throughout lockdown as an essential business supplying goods and materials to Australia’s tradesmen and building industries. Big box retailer Kmart has also performed well increasing three spots from pre-pandemic to sixth overall,” said Levine.

Several other businesses have excelled during COVID including Apple – which increased a massive 78 places to land in seventh spot overall to join Australia’s leading car manufacturer Toyota (8th) and leading airline Qantas (5th) in the top 10 most trusted brands.

The Roy Morgan Risk Report: also reveals the top-20 list of Australia’s most distrusted brands with several brands entering the top 10 for the first time including Amazon, Rio Tinto and Huawei, and brands such as Crown Resorts, Uber, Twitter and TikTok new entrants into the top 20 list.

Leading banks including NAB, ANZ and CBA were among the big improvers on the distrust ladder with all three dropping well out of the top-10 most distrusted brands.

How should we utilise this data to navigate the marketplace of 2021? Ms Levine says, “In the current environment of contested ‘narratives’ trust is a key brand asset while distrust is a brand liability. Distrust remains the number one risk factor for the nation’s companies because it is the toxic element in brand equity.

“A look at the new brands to enter the top 20 most distrusted brands list reveals a litany of missteps and controversies over the last year including Rio Tinto’s destruction of the 46,000 year old Juukan indigenous heritage site, concerns about Chinese government influence for Huawei and Tiktok and legal and licensing problems for Crown Resorts related to the facilitation of large-scale money laundering.

“It’s clear that distrust should be on the risk register of every publicly listed company in Australia. Why isn’t it? Because until Roy Morgan’s data scientists identified the toxic nature of distrust, no-one was measuring it.

“After more than 30 waves of research, Roy Morgan continues to measure and track distrust as well as trust, publishing key results in the Roy Morgan Risk Report providing essential risk metrics to corporate leaders who understand the dangers to brand equity that distrust represents.” 

The top-10 most trusted brands in Australia during COVID

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia). Risk Monitor, April 2020 – March 2021. Key commercial brands with 20+ mentions. Base: Australians 14+; n=21,833.

The Roy Morgan Risk Monitor surveys approximately 1,800 Australians every month to measure levels of trust and distrust in more than 900 brands across 26 industry sectors. Respondents are asked which brands and companies they trust, and why, and which brand and companies they distrust, and why. The survey is specially designed to be open-ended and context-free, i.e., unprompted.

Roy Morgan Risk Monitor data is made available in a variety of formats, from snapshot overviews to detailed tracking of individual brands and their competitors.

To learn more call (+61) (3) 9224 5309 or email Roy Morgan Risk Monitor.

View the 2021 Risk Report.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size Percentage Estimate
40% – 60% 25% or 75% 10% or 90% 5% or 95%
1,000 ±3.0 ±2.7 ±1.9 ±1.3
5,000 ±1.4 ±1.2 ±0.8 ±0.6
7,500 ±1.1 ±1.0 ±0.7 ±0.5
10,000 ±1.0 ±0.9 ±0.6 ±0.4
20,000 ±0.7 ±0.6 ±0.4 ±0.3
50,000 ±0.4 ±0.4 ±0.3 ±0.2

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