OPINION12 July 2021

Protecting privileged information: Trust in data

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Behavioural science Covid-19 FMCG Opinion UK

Whether it be ‘passively’ collected or declared behaviour, trust in the usage of data is vital, says James Oates, UK analytics director at Nielsen.


I recently presented on the impact of Covid-19 on macro consumer spending habits in UK supermarkets and the forecast for the coming year. I have made an annual market presentation for several years, but this survey statement really grabbed my attention: ‘My number one concern is to get food onto the table.’

This response came from a large number of households that have been newly impacted by the virus. These are people who may have been furloughed, or are experiencing a change in their economic situation, affecting the way they live.

As ever with data, a comparative observation really brought this to life; among households that feel insulated from the financial impact of Covid-19, their number one concern is ‘to be able to meet friends and family again’.

This is really personal information. The analysis served as a reminder to me of how privileged we, as data analysts, are to be able to get everyday access into the lives of the consumer. Even better ...