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Tech Sector: Act Now on Reputation and Trust

September 17, 2020

Today we launched a new report, Techlash 2020: Why the Technology Sector Needs to Lean in Now on Consumer Expectations.

This summer, amid the continuing global pandemic, the rightful fight for racial justice and equality, and a strained global economic outlook, a landmark hearing of technology sector leaders took place on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Like U.S. lawmakers, consumers all around the world seem to have a lot of questions for the technology sector in general – and they are demanding answers and action.

In this context, and to get a true picture of consumer sentiment towards technology companies, FleishmanHillard TRUE Global Intelligence carried out research to look at expectations, trust and the perceived responsibility for the technology sector to do what’s right.

What we found is that consumers want the technology sector to take a long hard look at its policies and practices. They want these companies to do what’s right by them. And, a majority want governments to step in and help too.

In particular:

  • Although the technology sector is playing a vital role in society in the developed world, consumers are growing increasingly distrustful of it. This is especially true among Gen Z (those born in the late 90s).
  • Gen Z’s distrust is growing in the U.S. – jumping from 26% in 2019 to 46% in 2020.
  • More than a quarter (28%) of global consumers generally trust the technology sector very little or not at all.
  • In the U.S., 32% don’t trust the technology sector, compared to just 18% last year.
  • Close to one-third (29%) agree there isn’t enough regulation on the sector.

Per the report, the technology sector needs to act to address the consequences of its policies, practices and products, and do right by consumers to build trust. Nearly 60% of consumers agree.

The countries covered in the report include the U.S., Canada, U.K., Italy, Germany, China and South Korea. We’ve also provided comparative data for the U.S. between 2019 and 2020.