Preferences in the Willingness to Download a COVID-19 Contact Tracing App in the Netherlands and Turkey: Experimental Study
Background: Despite the worldwide growth in using COVID-19 contact tracing apps (CTAs) and the potential benefits for citizens, governments, health care professionals, businesses, and other organizations, only a few studies have examined the factors affecting the levels of willingness to download a CTA. Objective: This study aimed to investigate individuals’ preferences in the willingness to download a health app. Methods: We conducted an experimental study in 2 countries, the Netherlands (N=62) and Turkey (N=83), using 4 different vignettes (ie, data protection, manufacturer, reward, and gaming models) with different attributes. Participants were randomly assigned to 1 of the conditions within the vignettes. Results: The results showed that data protection and gaming elements are factors that influence the willingness to download a COVID-19 CTA. More specifically, we see that data protection is an important factor explaining the willingness to download the app in Turkey, whereas including gaming elements significantly affects the willingness to download the app in the Netherlands. Conclusions: COVID-19 CTAs are highly promising to reduce the spread of the virus and make it easier to open up society faster, especially because they can be used quickly and share information rapidly. COVID-19 CTA developers must ensure that their apps satisfactorily and sufficiently address ethical considerations, even in times of crisis. Furthermore, integrating gaming elements in the CTA could enhance the willingness to download the CTA.