Opinium Brand Trust – Home Energy

Opinium Brand Trust – Home Energy

  • Brand trust low in the home energy sector
  • British Gas is the most trusted energy supplier in the market *
  • Half of energy companies’ customers do not trust their current supplier
  • Yet consumers trust their current energy supplier significantly more than other energy brands in the market

Brand trust is an amalgamation of a whole range of factors which consumers take into consideration when deciding whether or not they want to shop in a certain retailer or purchase a particular product or service. It can be a powerful factor in determining a custom and/or repeat purchase.

With all of the Big Six home energy suppliers having raised their prices for the second time in a year, energy suppliers have been placed firmly in the public spotlight. The Government and consumers alike have been protesting against mis-selling, poor doorstep selling tactics, substandard customer service and rising prices, all of which have surely combined in lowering the overall levels of trust in this sector.

Lack of trust in the energy sector

Amongst Customers
Half of all consumers do not trust their own energy supplier.
Just 53% of E.ON customers said they trusted their current suppliers, compared to 51% of EDF Energy customers, 50% of British Gas, 49% of Southern Electric, 38% of Scottish Power and 36% of Swalec customers.

Amongst Non-Customers
Brand trust was found to be much worse amongst non-customers than customers. For the market as a whole, British Gas was rated as a trusted brand by just 25% of respondents, ahead of E.ON (21%) and EDF Energy (19%).

Key finding: Consumers trust their current energy supplier significantly more than other energy brands in the market.

“Always delivers on its promises?”
British Gas leads the way when it comes to being a brand which ‘…always delivers on its promises’,40% of their own customers agreeing with this statement, with E.ON in second place here with 35% of customers agreeing.

“Has good intentions towards its customers”
The majority of customers disagreed with the statement that their energy supplier “has good intentions towards its customers”. Just 41% of British Gas customers agreed with the statement, ahead of E.ON and Southern Electric (both on 37%). But for the market as a whole, the British Gas rating fell to 17% on this criteria, well ahead of E.ON (10%) and EDF Energy (9%).

“This brand does a good job”
Finally, when asked, if their current energy supplier does a good job, more than half (54%) of British Gas customers were in agreement, ahead of E.ON (50%) and EDF Energy (45%).

James Endersby, managing director of Opinium Research, commented: “While it’s obvious from our research that trust is fairly low across the board in the energy sector, a closer look reveals that 3 – 4 times more consumers trust their current energy supplier than other energy brands in the market place. This perhaps explains why, at least in part, consumers seem reluctant to switch suppliers.”

Opinium Research interviewed of 2,000 UK adults aged 18+ from 9th to 11th September 2011. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.

* From a selection of British Gas, EDF, E.ON, npower, Scottish Power, Southern Electric and Swalec

** Opinium’s Brand Trust Monitor is a newly launched opinion tracker designed to measure brand trust amongst consumers across 15 – 20 sectors. What differentiates this survey from other trackers is, firstly, its exclusive focus on brand trust – as opposed to customer satisfaction or likelihood to recommend – and, secondly, its sector focus, enabling brands to benchmark themselves against their closest competitors on 4 key trust agree/disagree statements:

  • This brand does a good job
  • This brand always delivers on its promises
  • This brand has good intentions towards its customers
  • I trust this brand

The survey will be continuous, a nationally representative sample of 2,000 UK adults surveyed online throughout the year about brand trust across different sectors – each sector will be surveyed annually. Normative data and sector comparisons will be provided, enabling brands to benchmark their performance over time, not only against competitors but also against ‘best in class’ brands from other sectors.

Opinium Research is a full service market research agency offering quantitative and qualitative marketing research and consultancy across a range of sectors. These include consumer markets, financial services and insurance, technology, business to business, advertising and media, automotive, business and leisure travel, politics and healthcare. Opinium’s offering spans consultancy, syndicated, Omnibus and field and data services. Opinium runs a daily low-cost online Omnibus survey interviewing 2000 UK adults per wave.