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  • 89% of Prosumers consider trust the cornerstone of society, and yet 85% consider it a rare value these days.
  • 72% of the global sample are worried about the loss of trusted leaders.
  • Two-thirds believe that human beings in general are less trustworthy than they were a century ago.

Core Insight:

Our worlds are expanding, and yet our circles of trust are being cinched increasingly tighter.  We have access to more information than ever before, but we are not sure whether it is true. We can see images of events taking place thousands of miles away, but we cannot know for sure that they haven’t been digitally manipulated to tell a false tale. We can purchase shiny new products from distant manufacturers but may worry that they have been produced with unhealthful or sub-par materials by workers who are being mistreated.

With this study, Havas Group explores the modern era’s depleted state of trust—and the potential to restore it.


Trust is the social glue that binds individuals, communities, and countries. Without trust, how can countries hope to progress? How can people work together to create change when they aren’t certain they can rely on one another? How can brands create meaningful bonds with consumers if people don’t trust them to be true to their word or to work in the best interests of the public?

This is an enormous issue today because trust appears to be dying. Most people believe that human beings are less trustworthy than they used to be and say that they personally are becoming less trusting.

With this latest Prosumer study—conducted in 27 countries—we explore the current state of trust and its implications for society and for brands.

Key findings include:

Our model of trust is contracting. Most people’s circles of trust no longer extend far beyond their immediate families and friends. More distant ties—including race and ethnicity, political party, and religious beliefs—do not carry the weight they once did.

Negative experiences breed distrust. Most people start out trusting each other but then lose that sense of trust over time. It’s hard to claw back from a bad experience.

Fake news, fake journalists. Even as people are taking in more information than ever before—and from a widening range of sources—they are feeling less informed because they aren’t certain which news they can trust.

Horizontal models such as Yelp and TripAdvisor are no longer that promising, but we’re not sure we can trust the “experts” either. People are discovering that peer-to-peer networks aren’t reliable, yet they aren’t convinced that the authorities will tell them the truth.

Key output for brands. The most successful brands will be those that are unafraid to address a negative experience. Trust begins with proximity, making employees invaluable. A clear vision and commitment to innovation also go a long way toward seeding trust.

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