Shopping
Disabled consumers face many barriers when shopping, according to research by the Business Disability Forum.

Business Disability Forum (BDF) has published extensive new research which finds that disabled consumers across the UK experience limited choice and feelings of disempowerment when purchasing products, services, and activities, resulting in over 43 per cent abandoning shopping tasks without purchasing.

‘What disabled consumers choose to buy and why’ looks at how people make decisions about where they shop and what they purchase. Supported by Microsoft, the in-depth research examines buying experiences of the one in five people in the UK who have a disability.

BDF commissioned Open Inclusion to carry out the research. Insights are based on the views and experiences of 698 respondents with disabilities or access needs who took part in the research. Disabled consumers with a range of lived experiences participated. Businesses also took part.

The research considers purchasing experiences across the areas of retail, hospitality, utilities, days out and leisure, holiday accommodation, banking and insurance, and technology. Its findings and recommendations cover user-involvement, accessibility, communication, customer service, and training.

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A lack of good customer support is a significant barrier to disabled consumers – 54 per cent mentioned this for shopping in-person and 40 per cent when shopping online.

Of the disabled consumers surveyed, 90 per cent were affected at the decision-making stage of purchases by either; limitations of design, limitations in available information, or how information was presented. Around 65 per cent of those surveyed agreed that they felt like their choices of what to buy were limited on a daily basis due to barriers. Over half, meanwhile, reported that they were likely to feel limited by choice, specifically because of their access needs, when booking holiday accommodation (59 per cent) or in relation to leisure activities (56 per cent).

For in-person purchases, barriers most commonly mentioned included not having customer or sales staff available to help (54 per cent), space to move around the shop (52 per cent), placement of the items I want to look at (47 per cent) and access into the shop itself (40 per cent).

Diane Lightfoot, CEO, Business Disability Forum, said: “Businesses cannot afford to overlook the needs and spending habits of disabled consumers. Yet, too often, disabled people face limited choice, increased costs, or even difficulty finding the goods and services they want and need.

“For disabled people, the need for better access to services and products has never been more urgent. Many disabled people face additional costs associated with having a disability. With living costs rising, it is more important than ever that disabled consumers have the information they need to make informed purchasing decisions and to get the best deals possible.

“Our research shows that there is plenty of good practice out there, but it can be patchy, and varies from sector to sector.”

Whilst 74 per cent of all disabled consumers agreed that the businesses they buy from ‘have a long way to go to ensure products and services and accessible for all’, the research also found that there are some positive signs of change.

Almost two thirds (65 per cent) agreed that businesses they used are starting to recognise the importance of accessible and inclusive products and services.

Just over half (54 per cent) agreed that they have noticed a positive change in how they were treated as a disabled or older customer.

The Business Disability Forum works with over 400 employers and service providers, bringing business leaders, disabled people, and Government together to understand what needs to change to contribute a balanced voice on how to advance the participation of disabled people as workers, users of services, and citizens in society. It recently launched several free resources to help increase understanding about the benefits of accessibility.

Business Disability Forum

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https://thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Disabled-consumers-face-many-barriers-when-shopping__Original-Image_m41157.jpghttps://thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Disabled-consumers-face-many-barriers-when-shopping__Original-Image_m41157-150x150.jpgLiane McIvorNewsroomReports & ResearchSector Newsaccessible,Business Disability Forum,consumer,disabled,Products,purchasing,researchBusiness Disability Forum (BDF) has published extensive new research which finds that disabled consumers across the UK experience limited choice and feelings of disempowerment when purchasing products, services, and activities, resulting in over 43 per cent abandoning shopping tasks without purchasing. 'What disabled consumers choose to buy and why' looks...News, views & products for mobility, access and independent living professionals