Jul 30, 2020 - Economy

Axios Harris Poll 100: Corporate trust soars during the pandemic

Data: Harris Poll COVID19 Tracker Wave 20; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Harris Poll COVID19 Tracker Wave 20; Chart: Axios Visuals

The public's view of almost every industry has improved since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new Axios/Harris poll. Industries with a prominent role in life under quarantine have seen especially big jumps.

Why it matters: Businesses in America were already undergoing a transformation from being solely focused on profits to being focused on values as well. The coronavirus pandemic has expedited that shift, and consumers are responding favorably to it.

Details: The poll ranks the top 100 companies, based on consumers' scores across 7 qualities: Affinity (trust), citizenship, ethics, culture, vision, growth and products and services. Affinity is weighted higher than all other categories.

Leading the index are companies that have focused on solving problems related to the coronavirus.

  • Grocers, including Publix, Wegmans and Kroger, are among the highest-ranking companies, as are delivery companies like Fedex, Amazon and UPS.
  • Consumer packaged goods companies that focus on cleaning and kids, like Clorox, Hersey's, Disney and Procter & Gamble Co. ranked in the top 25.
  • Streaming giants like Netflix, followed by Hulu and Disney ranked in the top 25 due to the streaming offerings they provide to consumers stuck at home.
  • Pharmacies, including Walgreens and CVS, also scored well on consumer trust, culture and ethics.

By the numbers: According to the poll, 75% of consumers agree that generally speaking, during the COVID-19 pandemic and related shutdowns, "companies were more reliable than the federal government in keeping America running."

  • 81% of consumers agree that large companies, with resources, expensive infrastructure, and advanced logistics, "are even more vital now to America's future than before the pandemic."

Yes, but: Certain industries have fared worse. The telecom, social media and airlines industries rank in the bottom 20 of the top 100 companies ranked.

  • Social companies like Twitter and Facebook rank in the bottom 10 of the list, and are viewed slightly less favorably now than before the pandemic.
  • Airline companies like Boeing and United Airlines rank in the bottom 20.
  • Telecom companies like Comcast, AT&T and Charter Communications do as well.

What's next: Overwhelmingly, the poll finds that consumers approve of companies that address social and societal issues. These expectations are likely to last long after the initial phase of the pandemic.

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