Consumer trust in brand names on the slide

Consumer trust in brand names on the slide

If the US market is anything to go by, consumer electronics and PC vendors will need to work hard on convincing a new range of customers they can be trusted.

This is according to the 2005 Technology Brand Scorecard released this week by research group, Forrester.

The results - gathered from 4700 US consumers in September and October 2005 - found that although device sales are increasing, consumer trust in 20 of the 22 PC or CE brands surveyed has fallen. At the same time, measures of overall consumer confidence have risen and the Nasdaq has been bullish.

Forrester researcher, Ted Schadler, said the device vendors had little control over the fall in consumer trust because it was due to a change in the market, rather than the result of faulty systems or poor customer service.

Schadler found that as the convergence between consumer electronics and IT increased through the provision of digital entertainment technology, pessimistic consumers were becoming more prevalent and price was becoming more important than brand in consumer choices.

"Between 2003 and 2005, the ratio of technology pessimists owning PCs and consumer electronics technology increased," the report stated.

"Technology pessimists as a group give device brands a lower trust score than technology optimists. Put together, these data confirm the rise in the number of less trusting, technology-pessimistic users contributes to the fall in overall tech-brand trust."

Such technology-pessimism is just as likely to affect consumer electronics brands. Trust in consumer electronics brands such as Samsung and LG was among the worst reported.

"Despite the perils of a PC - like hard disk crashes, viruses and phishing attacks - the category engenders more trust than the safe and pleasure-giving TV brands," the report said.

By far the company facing the greatest challenges was Microsoft, with the largest proportion of respondents expressing either slight or significant distrust in the brand.

"Those users expressing high levels of distrust in the Microsoft brand have higher income, are much more likely to be male and are bigger online spenders," the report found. "These households know they run Microsoft software but would be just as happy to leave it behind, if they could."

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