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Coronavirus: May 2020 - The Impacts on Business


Now in its third month, this survey builds on previous editions to understand the impact of Coronavirus on the data and marketing industry. The latest results highlight the mixed feelings industry professionals have as the UK enters a new phase – with the lockdown being eased and the beginning of discussions about a return to workplaces.

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.

“Our latest barometer of businesses during this unprecedented situation shows that we are moving to a different phase. The impact of the pandemic on organisations’ revenues has been dramatic, causing concerns to remain high too,” says Chris Combemale, CEO of the DMA. “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.”

Entering a new phase

Indeed, the data reveals that some may be beginning to tire of home working or are starting to be recalled back to their workplaces – with those working from home dropping to 80% in May from over 90% previously. While many also believe their productivity working remotely may also be slipping – falling from 89% to 68%.

Data and marketing professionals also appear less confident in their organisations’ putting their health and safety first as we enter a new phase. This figure fell from over 90% in the previous two months to 84% of respondents this time. Positively, however, the number of organisations offering skills development and learning opportunities during the lockdown has continued to increase dramatically too – now up to 52% in May.

Impact of “Track and trace” on data privacy

The data also reveals 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.

Combemale continues: “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. 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.”

The DMA’s Coronavirus Survey will remain open over the coming months, so please continue to share how the outbreak is affecting you, your organisation and the industry:

Full results of the survey are available to download here:

Coronavirus: May 2020 – The Impacts on Business

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