Gen Z Lacks Trust in Tech Companies, Finds FleishmanHillard Report


A new report by FleishmanHillard finds that the younger generation lacks trust in the tech industry. It sheds light on the fact that tech companies need to take responsible actions to rebuild the consumer’s trust. 

We live in a hyper-connected world, where technology has simplified our busy lives. From smart homes, autonomous cars, wearable devices to industrial robots, telehealth, and business productivity apps, technology has made a powerful impact on consumers’ lives. Unfortunately, despite the positive aspects of technology, there has been a sharp decline in consumer trust in the tech industry. 

This is mainly due to erosion in data privacy, security breaches, and government surveillance. To understand the consumer’s sentiments towards the tech industry, FleishmanHillard recently released a new reportOpens a new window , Techlash 2020: Why the Technology Sector Needs to Lean in Now on Consumer Expectations.

According to the report, 62% of global consumers trust the tech industry somewhat, and 32% of U.S. consumers do not trust technology companies, which was just 18% in 2019. The alarming numbers have been a matter of concern for tech companies, and they must address the consequences of their policies, practices, and products. 

Let’s dive into the findings of the report.

Regulations on the Tech Industry

This year, the tech giants faced multiple investigations from both the U.S. and U.K government. In July 2020, the CEOs of Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Apple were interrogated by the U.S. House Judiciary’s antitrust committee on anti-competitive business practices. 

As a result, 29% of global consumers believe that tech companies are not regulated enough. Leading the pack are Italian consumers (42%), followed by the U.K. consumers (39%), Canada (35%), U.S. (33%), Germany (27%), South Korea (12%), and China (11%). 59% of Americans, on the other hand, believe that the tech industry was regulated appropriately in 2019 and 2020. 

Here’s how American consumers felt about the tech industry’s regulations in 2019 vs. 2020.

Comparative Findings in the U.S. 2019 Vs. 2020 

2019 Total 2020 Total
Regulated too much 10% Regulated too much 8%
Regulated about the right amount 59% Regulated about the right amount 59%
Regulated too little 31% Regulated too little 33%


Sophie Scott, global managing director technology and senior partner at FleishmanHillard, explainsOpens a new window , “Technology is part of the fabric of what connects and entertains nearly every consumer in the developed world – and at no time has that been truer than during the lockdowns and social distancing brought on by COVID-19. But, the technology sector has a duty to do things right, or it risks further disenfranchising the consumer, especially younger consumers.”

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A Decline in Consumer Trust

The tech industry’s anti-competitive lawsuits, data privacy issues, and federal investigations have caught the attention of consumers. This has significantly increased the trust gap in consumers. According to a new global surveyOpens a new window by PwC, 85% of global consumers wish there were more companies they could trust with their data, and 83% want more control over their data. In May 2020, a new surveyOpens a new window by Checkmarx revealed that nearly half of Americans expressed data privacy concerns in the COVID-19 contact tracing apps.

In 2020, only 10% of global consumers said that they trusted tech companies completely. 71% of Chinese respondents said that they trust tech companies somewhat, followed by South Korea (70%), Italy (63%), Germany and U.K. (both 58%), Canada (57%), and the U.S. (55%). 

When it comes to the sentiments of different generations, the survey found that Gen Z in the U.S. distrusts tech companies the most (46%), followed by millennials (32%), Gen X (32%), baby boomers (31%), and silent (25%). 

Below are the findings of generation-wise consumer’s trust in tech companies:

U.S. Generation-Wise Data 2020 

Trust in Tech Companies U.S. Total
Gen Z
Gen X
Great deal/ somewhat (NET) 68% 54% 68% 67% 69% 75%
A great deal 12% 15% 18% 12% 10% 2%
Somewhat 55% 39% 50% 55% 59% 72%
Not very much/ not at all (NET) 32% 46% 32% 33% 31% 25%
Not very much 26% 37% 27% 27% 23% 22%
Not at all 6% 9% 5% 6% 7% 3%


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Tech Industry’s Immediate Goal: Rebuilding Consumer Confidence

Tech companies need to address the widening trust gap in consumers. Putting more perspective on this, 59% of global consumers want tech companies to take more action and do what’s right for the consumers. 

Even in China, where consumers were confident with tech regulations, 78% believed that the tech sector needed to rebuild consumer trust. While in the U.S, 56% of Americans want tech companies to take action, and surprisingly 13% of Americans believe tech companies are addressing the consequences of their actions.

Comparative Findings in the U.S. 2019 Vs. 2020 

The tech industry needs to act to rebuild consumer’s trust 2019 2020
Strongly agree 40% 22%
Somewhat agree 38% 34%
Total agree 78% 56%
Neither agree nor disagree 18% 31%
Somewhat disagree 3% 8%
Strongly disagree 1% 5%
Total disagree 4% 13%


As we know, the customer is king and customer’s trust plays an essential role in any company’s growth strategy. It is time for the tech industry to consider the long-term impact of consumers’ growing distrust and start working toward rebuilding consumer confidence.

Note: The FleishmanHillard’s report was conducted from June 8-19, 2020, in countries including the U.S., Canada, U.K., Italy, Germany, China, and South Korea.

 Are tech companies already working toward rebuilding consumer confidence? Comment below or let us know on LinkedInOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , or FacebookOpens a new window . We’d love to hear from you!