The Data & Marketing Association (DMA) have published the results of its third ‘Coronavirus – The Impact on Business’ survey, highlighting the key concerns, challenges and needs of businesses during this challenging time.
The findings reveal that 42% of professionals surveyed are concerned about the negative impact the UK Government’s “Test, track and trace” programme could have on consumers’ general willingness to share personal data in the future.
According to the research, many are concerned about the impact government strategy could have on long-term consumer trust – specifically trust in how institutions (59%) and brands (43%) use personal data. Although a third (32%) believe this could become a positive outcome if handled correctly.
Half of professionals (49%) surveyed in the DMA’s previous ‘Data Privacy: An Industry Perspective’ report believe consumer trust in how brands handle their data has improved since the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) came into force.
If consumer concerns around data protection and privacy increase as a result of the government’s strategy, it could have severe implications for the data and marketing industry and the wider digital economy.
“Data exchange is essential to the smooth running of the modern digital economy, which contributes around £150bn to the UK economy according to DCMS estimates. Businesses rely on consumer trust and a willingness to share data in order to build sustainable and rewarding relationships with their customers,” says Chris Combemale, CEO of the DMA. “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.”
Business revenues halved by coronavirus
The findings show that many are still concerned about the impact of coronavirus on their business, with those ‘Very concerned’ rising from 24% in April to 33% in May. Although those saying they are not concerned or neutral also slightly from 17% to 26% over the same period.
Businesses estimate their revenues have been halved amid the lockdown (52.8% in May), with an increasing number expecting to (or having already) had to make permanent staff redundant (27%) or furlough them. The estimated number of employees on furlough has risen from 5.2 to 7.8 month-on-month.
However, businesses estimation of their operating ‘Business as usual’ has seen the first increase since this research series began. Rising from 56.9% in April to 64.6% this past month, possibly showing some early signs of improvement.
Combemale continues: “Our latest barometer of businesses during this unprecedented situation shows that we are definitely moving to a different phase. The impact of the pandemic on organisations’ revenues has been dramatic, causing concerns to remain high too. The overall picture is mixed and one of transition, with people starting to return to workplaces and the early signs of some return to business as usual. As restrictions continue to be lifted in the UK, businesses must ensure they continue to put people first – both their customers and employees alike.”