It is not long ago that we published our latest post on UK Top 20 development. Things move fast and with the summer approaching it is about time to check how the companies started the year of 2019.
One trend that an attentive reader will spot immediately when looking at the results is that most companies have improved their Trust & Like Scores. Indeed, compared to the last quarter of 2018 on average each company has gained 3 points. The average score for all 20 companies has improved from 64.0 in Q4 2018 to 66.8 in Q1 2019. This is of course explained by an array of changes, which we would like to describe more in this article.
As the latest consumer confidence index suggests people in the United Kingdom are not afraid to increase their spending despite the gloomy expectations towards what Brexit (if it happens) may bring. With increasing consumer confidence, GDP growth and an unemployment rate that has fallen to its lowest level since 1974, it seems public perceptions are on the rise despite the continued uncertainty.
Top 3 Companies in the UK
Britain’s most loved commercial broadcaster, ITV moves to 1st place to become the UK’s most trusted & liked company for Q1 2019. Already breaking the trend, ITV continues to outperform the global industry average for media and broadcasting companies by over 18% and outperforms rival Sky by over 10 points – despite a significant increase in perceptions for the latter (6.4 points). Perhaps the broadcaster’s strong performance could be attributed to the recent announcement in partnership with the BBC of the new Britbox – supplying the largest collection of British content available on any streaming service. A smart move to stay relevant and embrace evolving expectations while supporting British programming.
Next up, Tesco remains stable (+0.4 points) in 2nd place – but now earns the title as the UK’s favorite retailer as Marks & Spencer (-3.2 points) moves from 1st to 6th place. Perhaps M&S’ recent store closures and the resulting effect on job security could be to blame as consumers lose their favorite, local M&S stores and employees face radical changes and mounting uncertainty.
While the majority of the top 5 companies in the UK are retailers, Rolls-Royce makes its surprising debut in 3rd place – with a 3.9 point rise from the previous quarter. Possibly the engineering giant’s decision to keep production in Britain led to the public reconfirming its position as a British industrial crown jewel.
British retailer Next has managed to come back even stronger (+8.8 points) after struggling last year – possibly due to product recalls and infringement that led to over a 6-point perception drop. Perhaps the retailer’s swift customer service and remediation efforts paid off, in addition to creating a seamless shopper journey across online and brick-and-mortar shops – with nearly half of online sales picked up in its physical stores.
BT Group was another major mover this quarter with a gain of 6.3 points – a little surprising given the usual weak perception of the telecoms industry worldwide. Is this a result of its CEO departure in early February, or of its recent report about its significant contribution to the UK economy? That’s hard to say, but in any case it is impressive to see BT Group outperforming the global telecom industry average by over 20% when it comes to its Trust & Like Score.
Overall, it seems that the uncertainty surrounding Brexit is affecting market sentiment in a positive way, which may appear to be counterintuitive. It could very well be the case that as trust in the political environment weakens, companies across the UK are perceived to bring stability and credibility to the market – something the public acknowledges with greater trust and affection.
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