The evidence

83% of disabled people had 'walked away' from making a purchase, unable or unwilling to do so.

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 - £80 billion in the UK alone

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.