ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Consumers trust grocery chains like Kroger and Whole Foods in part because they have large networks of brick-and-mortar stores that shoppers who say are less confident patronizing online-only merchants can connect with, reveals newly released survey data from market research firm Morning Consult.
Grocery stores continue to enjoy high levels of consumer trust. But the positive sentiment they earned early in the pandemic eroded somewhat as the economy has reopened and given shoppers other options for in-store shopping. For instance, Amazon, Target, Costco and Walmart, which carry groceries and other products, also scored higher on the list of the 20 most trusted retail and grocery brands than pure-play grocers.
"As the country’s crisis mode has softened, so has consumers’ focus on grocery stores, resulting in a slight downtick in trust," the report noted.
The Morning Consult poll, which surveyed 4,400 U.S. adults, found that the percentage of shoppers who buy groceries primarily in person has dropped markedly since early 2020, from 84% to 70%. Still, the combination of rising consumer interest in buying online and the connection the researchers drew between retailers with a brick-and-mortar precedence and how much people trust them bodes well for grocers with an online presence.
Just over a third of survey respondents said they don't have faith in retailers that operate only online. Additionally, nearly 73% of people in the survey who indicated they are inclined to trust companies said they trust retailers with both physical and online presences to "act in the best interests of consumers."
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