Businesses in the UK, already struggling financially as a result of lockdown, also fear that the progress they have made in gaining consumer trust about how their personal data is handled could be undermined by the government’s Test, Track and Trace project.

Businesses overall estimate their revenues have been halved during the lockdown (52.8% in May), with a growing number expecting to (or have already done so) make redundancies (27%) or furlough staff, new research from the Data and Marketing Association’s (DMA) reveals.

And even though the lockdown is being eased in the UK as the virus infection rate begins to fall, businesses say they are fearful over the long-term impact of the pandemic. Of those questioned at the end of May, 33% said they were “very concerned”, up from 24% in April.

And 42% of businesses fear that the government’s Test, Track and Trace project aimed at containing a second wave of COVID–19 could impact consumers’ willingness in the future to share personal data.

Many are concerned about the impact government strategy could have on longer-term consumer trust – especially trust in how institutions (59%) and brands (43%) use personal data. But a third (32%) believe this could have a positive outcome, if handled correctly.

The findings are in contrast to the DMA’s earlier report, Data Privacy: An Industry Perspective, in which half of professionals surveyed said they thought consumer confidence in how brands handled their data had improved since the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

“Data exchange is essential to the smooth running of the modern digital economy, which contributes around £150 billion to the UK economy, according to DCMS estimates,” said Chris Combemale, CEO of the DMA.

“Businesses rely on consumer trust and a willingness to share data in order to build sustainable and rewarding relationships with their customers,” he added.

“The long-term effects of the UK Government’s “Test, Track and Trace” programme on customer trust and public perception could have lasting damage on the data and marketing industry if it is mismanaged. Our latest survey has found that this is a big concern for a large number of businesses,” Combemale said.

Sourced from DMA