Survey on COVID-19 track and trace smartphone app for The Health Foundation

New survey findings for the Health Foundation on public attitudes towards a potential smartphone app to ‘track and trace’ Coronavirus outbreaks.

The author(s)

  • Kate Duxbury Public Affairs
  • Matthew Bristow Public Affairs
Get in touch

The independent charity The Health Foundation has today released new polling data with Ipsos MORI that reveals the UK public’s awareness of and attitudes towards the planned smartphone app. In addition to the telephone-based NHS Test and Trace service launched on 28 May, the app – which is yet to be rolled out – is intended to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

While more than six in ten people (62%) say they are likely to download the app once it is released, the polling reveals a significant ‘digital divide’ along the lines of occupation, educational level and age.

Almost three quarters (73%) of people in managerial, administrative or professional jobs say they are likely to download the app, but among the routine and manual workers, state pensioners and the unemployed, this figure falls to just half (50%).

While 71% of those with a degree say they are likely to download the app, this falls to 63% for those with A-levels or equivalent only, 59% for those with GCSEs or equivalent, and 38% among those with no formal qualifications.

The polling also identifies variation in smartphone ownership as a significant issue, with almost one-in-five people aged over 65 years old (17%) not owning a device and therefore not in a position to download the app. People in routine and manual jobs, state pensioners and the unemployed are also more likely not to own a smartphone than those in managerial, administrative or professional jobs (8% vs 4%).

Those without access to the app will not receive the same level of benefit in terms of up-to-date information about their risk of infection from contact with others.

Technical Note

A nationally representative sample of 1,983 people, aged 18 and over in Great Britain, were interviewed via telephone on the Ipsos MORI CATI Omnibus survey between 1 and 10 May 2020. Quotas were set and data weighted to ensure a nationally representative sample of people aged 18 and over. Quotas were set on age, gender, government office region and working status. Data has been weighted to the known offline population proportions for age within gender, government office region and working status and social grade. Percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole percentage.

The author(s)

  • Kate Duxbury Public Affairs
  • Matthew Bristow Public Affairs

More insights about Health