Business Disability Forum

News & Views

24 April 2014

Line Managers, what would you do? - Performance management

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22 April 2014

Barclays is presented the Disability-smart award for Best service provider and Overall winner

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22 April 2014

Deadline extended for the 2014 Disability-smart awards!

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29 April 2014

Performance management and disabled colleagues

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14 May 2014

Non-visible disabilities in practice

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19 May 2014

Legal telephone surgeries

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22 April 2014

RT @KNANetworks: 1 week to the launch of #SecretsandBigNews - enabling people to be themselves at work. #DisabilityConfidence.…

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16 April 2014

RT @DisabilityStand: #statofthemonth - can unconscious bias sometimes be present towards employees who take up flexible working patterns ht…

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16 April 2014

RT @DisabilityStand: @MaryAnneRankin assesses businesses customer journeys to identify and remove any barriers disabled people may face: ht…

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The evidence

The benefits of attracting disabled customers

There is a compelling business case for making your organisation’s products and services fully accessible to people with disabilities. Below are some of the facts, figures and research findings that show the size of the opportunity for organisations committed to becoming disability-smart and attracting disabled people to their products and services.

A market you can’t ignore

A third of people in the UK are disabled or close to someone who is. 10 million disabled people live in the UK with a combined annual spending power in excess of £80 billion. There are 54 million Americans with disabilities who have a disposable spending power of $220 billion. 73% are heads of households and 48% are principal shoppers. Three quarters of Canadians without disabilities know someone with a disability, most often a family member or friend.

'The Walk Away £'

In 2006, Business Disability Forum and the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation (now Disability Rights UK) undertook a survey into the opinions and shopping habits of disabled customers. What emerged was a picture of informed consumers who will reward good customer service and punish providers who don’t make any effort to meet their needs.

83% of disabled people had 'walked away' from making a purchase, unable or unwilling to do so. The most important factor was inaccessible premises. Other important factors that discouraged disabled consumers from spending were poorly designed products and staff that were not disability confident, rude or appeared prejudiced.

Poor or inappropriate communications was another area that affected spending. Inaccessible websites, telephone systems and printed information were all cited by respondents as reasons they did not make a purchase.

Over a third of disabled people said that good disability service was the primary reason for choosing a provider or product. Two thirds choose businesses where they have received good customer service related to their disability. Companies that tell disabled people about the accessibility of their products attracted those consumers.

Your disability profile

Business Disability Forum has developed a communication tool to explain how disability is likely to affect a customer base. These disability profiles provide some basic management information which helps to explain why an organisation needs to be disability-smart. The profiles help managers in any country learn how to meet the needs of a wide range of customers.

Disability profiles can be tailored to reflect the reality of any particular business or industry sector. Business Disability Forum partners receive tailored disability profiles for free. If you would like to request a tailored profile for your organisation or find out more about the profiles in general please contact our member services team.

To find out more about or commission disability profiles please send us an email to or call 020 7403 3020 for our advice service.

Sample profiles

Click here to download the UK Customer profile - 2014 (PowerPoint)

Click here to download the Banking customer profile sample (PowerPoint).