Shopping centre
Greater accessibility and Information in UK shopping centres could generate an additional £1 billion each month, according to Handiscover.

Accessibility and disability data organisation Handiscover is calling on the UK retail industry to improve accessibility as a priority now that the high street recovers post-Covid.

Global research by the organisation indicates that almost two thirds of disabled people in the UK say that shopping centres are either not accessible enough, or not giving enough accessibility information before they visit.

It’s thought that more than 14 million people in the UK live with a long term illness or disability requiring specific accessibility needs, highlighting the importance of this research for the retail industry.

Handiscover believes that if accessibility, accessibility information and greater training was in place across the high street and retail industry, the UK economy could benefit by up to 25 per cent against current level – that’s almost £1 billion per month.

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To help businesses, Handiscover has now developed and released an industry leading ‘accessibility standard’ for shopping centres and malls which it provides free of charge to help the retail industry start working on improving their accessibility.

Businesses needing help to improve accessibility can sign up for Handiscover’s Accessibility Management Program. The program includes accessibility data management and assessment, marketing tools to help communicate accessibility to consumers, and Accessibility & Disability Education for staff to help the industry recover in a post COVID world.

Magnus Berglund, Accessibility Director at Handiscover said: “Now that retail is starting to reopen across Europe, the industry has a huge opportunity to start catering for all customers by improving accessibility and how they communicate that level of accessibility before a consumer visits.

“With more and more retail spaces opening their doors once again post-COVID, even small changes to accessibility can radically increase customer satisfaction and growth.”

Sebastien Archambeaud, CEO of Handiscover said: “With roughly 25 per cent people in Europe suffering from some form of disability, be that visible or non-visible, and with disabled consumers accounting for a potential market value of £249 billion per annum, it is easy to see why a renewed focus on accessibility for the retail sector is needed – both from an ethical and a commercial standpoint.”.

The research from Handiscover also revealed that over 90 per cent of the disabled population said that they would be more likely to visit a shopping centre if they had more information on accessibility beforehand. Thus demonstrating the importance and potential available for the industry.

As specialists in accessibility and disability data, Handiscover recently highlighted how improvements are needed in the hospitality industry to improve accessibility and accessibility information after its survey revealed that 32 per cent of disabled people in the UK are not having their accessibility needs met in hotels.

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