By Bettina Klumpe, ADM e. V., Germany

Trust is an essential cornerstone for stable relationships, successful collaboration, social cohesion and personal growth. As a fundamental human quality, it connects and enables us to find orientation in a complex world. In contrast, mistrust can damage relationships, disrupt communication, and reduce the effectiveness of teamwork and productivity. Widespread mistrust of government institutions can endanger the functioning of democracy, leading to political apathy, low voter turnout, and an increasing societal divide. Once trust is lost, a great deal of effort and time is needed to rebuild and sustain it.

The insights industry also relies heavily on public trust. Without trust in the accuracy of the results and the security of participant data, market research becomes difficult to impossible.

In Germany, 41 percent of people have a trust in market research companies, while 40 percent are unsure and 17 percent even distrust them. The Net Trust Index (NTI) is at 24, which means a slight increase of 2 index points compared to 2022. Overall, Germany is above the total average of the participating countries (NTI 12).

Among the 15 examined company categories, market research in Germany ranks 4th in terms of trust. In comparison, the numbers seem positive. However, the coin has two sides: almost one in two people do not have complete trust in market research companies. And if you look at the numbers for trust in election research companies and data analysts, the figures are even lower.

What unsettles people? A potential reason can be found in the mistrust of the use of personal data by market research companies. Only 27 percent of the population have trust in market research companies in terms of protection and appropriateness of the use of personal data, 44 percent are unsure and 27 percent do not trust. This puts the NTI at 0, compared with +9 in 2022. Election research companies (NTI: 2024 +5, 2022 +18) and data analysts (NTI: 2024 -29, 2022 -19) also performed worse.

When asked whether they have concerns about the secure protection of personal data through market research, almost a third now respond with “yes”.



Trust requires clarity and transparency. In the market research industry in Germany, clear rules and guidelines ensure both. These include guidelines that guarantee the anonymity of respondents and ensure that the data collected is not passed on for advertising or direct marketing purposes. In cases of doubt, the “Rat der Deutschen Markt- und Sozialforschung” examines compliance with the regulations. All these regulations are trust-building. We all have to adhere to them. AI will certainly play an increasing role in the industry. This makes rules and transparency even more important, especially as the public is very skeptical about the use of AI in market research.

Bettina Klumpe

ADM e. V., Germany