There is an undeniable, and growing business case for any company, organization, or government entity with a website to make its virtual marketplace accessible for all consumers, notably people with disabilities. There are social, technical, financial, and legal website accessibility factors driving this needed change.
Globally, people with disabilities represent the fastest growing consumer market, according to Rich Donovan, President & CEO of the Return on Disability Group and a globally recognized subject matter expert on the convergence of disability and corporate profitability. Donovan estimates that the global disability market is the size of China, or approximately 1.3 consumers.
People with print disabilities – as well as others with mobility limitations – often face numerous barriers when accessing websites. In the United States, here are some important demographics to support the business case for better website accessibility and functionality:
- Approximately 22.5 million American adults age 18 and older reported experiencing vision loss.
- Over 30 million adults in the United States have Dyslexia.
- Nearly 50 million Americans experience hearing loss.
- 4.6 million Americans reported having Learning Disabilities.
- About 10 million people in the United States have color vision deficiency.
Yet, despite the data and increased awareness about disability, too many websites remain inaccessible. At least 90% of all government websites in the United States have major access barriers. Over 90% of e-commerce sites in the United States have “inadequate” form field descriptions during their checkout process.
However, aside from litigation, one thing is bound to change these grim statistics: consumer attitudes. (Editor’s Note: Read our related blog, “The Legal Ramifications of Inaccessible Websites”)
According to the National Business & Disability Council (NBDC) at The Viscardi Center, approximately 91% of all consumers in the United States would be more likely to shop at businesses with accessible websites. There are other studies demonstrating why consumer attitudes will drive the needed change to make websites more accessible:
- 69% of all e-commerce visitors abandon their shopping cart.
- Over 70% of consumers with disabilities in the United Kingdom face significant barriers to accessing websites and apps.
As e-commerce continues to change the business landscape, accessibility can no longer be viewed as an option, nor can its importance be devalued. The growing disability market – and its economic impact – validates the business case for accessible websites.
Disclaimer: The content of the MAP Blog does not serve as an endorsement of any commercial product or service, but rather an outlet to share information and opinions about the emerging disability consumer market.
¹Return on Disability, “2016 Annual Report – The Global Economics of Disability,” May 1, 2016; available online at http://www.rod-group.com/content/rod-research/edit-research-2016-annual-report-global-economics-disability.
²National Health Interview Survey, “2015 Data Release,” June 30, 2016; available online at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/nhis_2015_data_release.htm.
³Dyslexia-Reading-Well, “Discovering Dyslexia, 2016; available online at http://www.dyslexia-reading-well.com.
4 Hearing Health Foundation, “Hearing Loss & Tinnitus Statistics,” 2016; available online at http://hearinghealthfoundation.org/?pg=statistics.
5 U.S. Census, “Disability,” 2016; available online at http://www.census.gov/people/disability/.
6 Health Communities, “Color Vision Deficiency,” 2016; available online at http://www.healthcommunities.com/color-vision-deficiency/causes.shtml.
7 Issues in Science & Technology, “Reducing Barriers to Online Access for People with Disabilities,” Volume XXVII Issue 2, Winter 2011; available online at http://issues.org/27-2/lazar/.
8 Baymard Institute, “Add Descriptions To Checkout Form Labels (92% Get It Wrong,” November 6, 2012; available online at http://baymard.com/blog/checkout-form-field-descriptions.
9 National Business & Disability Council (NBDC) at The Viscardi Center, “A Clear Message from Consumers to Businesses: Don’t Overlook Disability,” August 19, 2015; available online at https://www.viscardicenter.org/resources/blog/clear-message.html.
10 Baymard Institute, “E-Commerce Checkout Usability,” 2016; available online at http://baymard.com/research/checkout-usability.
11 Business Disability Forum, “Research launched to discover how much revenue UK businesses are losing as disabled customers click away from inaccessible websites,” 2016; available online at http://www.businessdisabilityforum.org.uk/about-us/news/research-launched-to-discover-how-much-revenue-uk-businesses-are-losing-as-disabled-customers-click-away-from-inaccessib/.
NBDC General Consultant
Brandon Macsata serves as Managing Partner of The Macsata-Kornegay Group, Inc. (TMKG). Since April 2014, Macsata has served as the General consultant for the National Business & Disability Council (NBDC) at The Viscardi Center. He is widely recognized for his ability to connect stakeholders interested in influencing public opinion and public policy at the national and state levels. He has extensive experience working with political candidates, national and statewide trade associations, issue-advocacy groups and other corporate entities. In November 2009, Macsata was acknowledged by HIV-Plus Magazine to be among the Top 25 LGBT Leaders Fighting HIV/AIDS. He has dedicated much of his professional and personal life advocating for persons living with HIV/AIDS since his diagnoses as HIV-positive in March 2002.
NBDC General Consultant