Survey finds UK shoppers trust co-ops more than private businesses

'People are fed up of lining the pockets of overseas billionaires, when they can use their hard earned cash to create decent jobs for their friends and neighbours'

New research commissioned by Co-operatives UK reveals that nearly two thirds of consumers (59%) say they trust co‑ops, compared to just 35% for pls.

The apex body says this could translate into sales at a time when major high street giants are folding, as nearly half of UK shoppers (49%) say they are likely to choose a co‑operative business over a conventional business when shopping for goods or services.

The poll, conducted by Yougov from a sample of 2,075 adults between 2‑3 December 2020, comes at a time when businesses are battling for survival and more and more consumers expect businesses to operate ethically.

It found the most popular attributes for a business earning trust is being a good employer (76%) and behaving fairly (72%). Nearly two thirds of respondents thought trustworthy businesses passed savings onto customers (64%) and supported the local community (63%).

Caring for the environment and sharing profits with its employees/shareholders were also important across all ages at 60% and 59% respectively.

Co‑operatives UK pointed out that co-ops fit the bill for all these ethical expectations as they are based on a set of shared values and principles, with members having a stake and a say in how the co‑operative is run.

Chief executive Rose Marley said: “High street closures, the Covid‑19 pandemic and continuing uncertainty around Brexit makes this an extraordinarily challenging period for British business.

“Co‑ops have been a force for good for over 175 years and it appears that consumers appreciate their continued commitment to supporting communities, customers, employees and the environment.”

She added: “I know I certainly think more carefully where I spend my money, and the truth is that people are fed up of lining the pockets of overseas billionaires, when they can use their hard earned cash to create decent jobs for their friends and neighbours – especially in these testing times.” 

The survey follows on from a poll released in June that showed that eight out of ten consumers who shopped locally during lockdown intended to continue their new habit once the crisis was over. One in three (30%) said they used local retailers more since the pandemic struck and 80% of them aimed to carry on shopping this way in the future.

A report released in October showed the resilience of community ownership, with 92% of businesses that raised funds through community shares (where investors have a say in how the business is run) still operating.

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