New research: Building trust is key to success of COVID-19 contact tracing (part two)

A recent study comissioned by FORTYEIGHT.AI and conducted by Avansere AS and Opinium explores consumer attitudes and behaviours towards industry-led COVID-19 contact tracing.

Compliant, but cautious

Despite this awareness and good intent, two thirds of people (64%)feel comfortable providing their contact information to pubs, bars, restaurants or cafés (especially those in the North East (75%) and Northern Ireland (75%).

However, one in five (18%) people still say they would likely provide false contact information because of not trusting the business will keep it safe, not misuse it and delete it after 21 days. Londoners and most likely to do this (28%).

While the majority 74% of people would provide correct information (especially the 55+ age group 88%), 18-34s (31%) and workers (24%) are more likely to provide false information. This may reflect how aware they are of data privacy problems.

One in five (18%) people would provide false contact information because of not trusting the business will keep it safe, not misuse it and delete it after 21 days

Untrustworthy spaces

Should people be so distrusting of pubs, bars, restaurants or cafes? Most people who did visit and were served were asked for their contact details by establishments (72%); but a third of this group were asked at some point during their visit (35%); with a third having already entered the premises (33%); and nearly one in ten saying they were asked after the visit (7%).

People should be concerned, as the survey also revealed that a quarter of people were not asked for their contact information (26%). Worryingly, a third of people aged 55 and over were not asked (32%).

Safe place

People are divided in terms of who they would feel happiest providing their contact information to. 24% say a local, independent pub, bar, restaurant or café business; 24% say a central database, managed by the government; and 24% say ‘none of the above’. Only 10% say a central database, managed by the hospitality industry association, and only 6% say a national pub, bar, restaurant or café chain.

People who are comfortable sharing contact information (31%) and people aged 55+ (29%) are happiest providing contact information to a local, independent pub, bar, restaurant or café business. People in Northern Ireland (40%) and Scotland (35%) are also more likely to trust their local establishment.

This demonstrates the need for more trust and confidence in how data is captured and managed, and more transparent ways and means that potentially resolve some of the non-technical challenges associated with providing contact information.

People are least happy sharing their their contact information with a national pub, bar, restaurant or café chain (6%).
Map of the UK displaying % of people that were not asked to provide their contact information when visiting a pub, bar, restaurant or café.

Confident using mobile

When it comes to using different collection methods, people are confident using their mobile phone in various ways when providing contact information:

  • Making phone calls (84%)
  • Text messaging (83%)
  • Emailing via mobile phone (73%)
  • Using the Internet via mobile phone (72%)
  • Using a mobile app (72%)
  • Using Social media (58%)
  • Using QR codes (47%)

While people are most confident making a phone call to provide contact information, text messaging is a close second and represents a far more convenient and trackable method for both consumer and establishment. All demographics are confident using text messaging when providing contact information.

Meanwhile people aged 18-54 (especially 18-34-year-olds) and workers are broadly confident in emailing, using the internet, mobile app, social media; with less than half of people confident QR codes when providing contact information.

Actually using pens and paper

Among those that did visit an establishment, a quarter of people (26%) did not provide contact information (with 33% of over people aged 55+ not doing so); and the top way people provided contact information was by adding their information to form using pen and paper (32%). This mostly happens in the West Midlands, with 43% of people in this region using pen and paper.

Few used safer digital methods like the a company’s website (10%), email (10%), QR code (8%) or text messaging (7%) to provide their contact information.


This report was written by Avansere AS, and the research was conducted by Opinium Research. 1,908 adults England, Scotland and Northern Ireland were surveyed between 17/07/20 and 20/07/20. The data was weighted to be nationally representative.

For press and media enquiries, please take a look at our Press & Media page, or for more general information on this research and our products, please contact the team on

Nicholas Oliver

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