Although Bazaarvoice focuses on marketing aspects and opportunities, they have done an extraordinary job in summarizing recent surveys and polls showing the decline in trust in intermediary institutions, and the rise in trust in peers.
What it shows it the very profound social transformation taking place.
A selection of the key factoids:
# Trust in “a person like me” has tripled, from 20% to 68% from 2004 to 2006. (Edelman Trust Barometer)
# “Person like themselves” still most trusted source for information about a company and, therefore, products. (Edelman Trust Barometer, November 2007)
# Recommendations from family and friends trump all other consumer touchpoints when it comes to influencing purchases, according to new data from Publicis media network ZenithOptimedia. (AdAge, April, 2008)
# According to a global Nielsen survey of 26,486 Internet users in 47 markets, consumer recommendations are the most credible form of advertising among 78% of the study’s respondents. (Nielsen, “Word-of-Mouth the Most Powerful Selling Tool”)
# Online social network users were three times more likely to trust their peers’ opinions over advertising when making purchase decisions. (“Social Networking Sites: Defining Advertising Opportunities in a Competitive Landscape,” JupiterResearch, March 2007)
# Consumers trust friends above experts when it comes to product recommendations (65% trust friends, 27% trust experts, 8% trust celebrities). (Yankelovich)
# 91% of moms prefer brands that other moms have recommended. (Marketing VOX, October 2006)
# 86.9% of respondents said they would trust a friend’s recommendation over a review by a critic, while 83.8% said they would trust user reviews over a critic. (Marketing Sherpa, July 2007)
There’s a lot more where that came from.