The drivers of the accessible wheelchair vehicle market growth
Valued at approximately £4.7 billion globally in 2016 and expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.7 percent from 2017 to 2025, the Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) market is on the rise. James Roberts, Head of Business Development at comparison website WAV Compare, shared his thoughts with THIIS what is driving the market’s growth in the UK.
Having recently reached the milestone of generating five-million-pounds of sales through its online platform, WAV Compare’s success reflects the suggested growth reported in Credence Research’s latest study on the global WAV market.
An online platform for the UK that promotes wheelchair accessible vehicles exclusively, WAV Compare allows users to easily find wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAV) based on their needs, such as hand controls or access for an electric wheelchair.
According to the company, the number of people visiting the platform has grown significantly over the last 18 months following investment in its stock system, resulting in the increase of sales being created through the website.
Discussing the growth of the WAV market, James told THIIS that consumer choice and awareness were two of the key drivers behind the market’s recent growth.
“I believe there are a number of factors that have contributed to the growth but it is certainly becoming more widely known that such adapted vehicles exist and that with a wheelchair accessible vehicle, it can give a lot more independence and freedom,” explained James.
“The growing used market in terms of stock and dealers have also increased competition and availability, meaning a better choice and lower, more affordable prices for the consumer.”
Working in partnership with a significant proportion of used and new WAV dealers across the UK and with over 500 vehicles available to view online, James says dealers that have not specialised in the WAV market are recognising the demand and responding to the demand for accessible vehicles.
“Most the dealers we work with have increased their stock levels to meet demand and we have found an increase in the number of traditional ‘ordinary’ car dealers who are looking to offer WAVs,” he highlighted.
Importantly, as more dealers new to the WAV market look to offer solutions to end-users, WAV Compare says it has taken steps to ensure these companies are able to provide the correct service needed at their showrooms.
“It’s important to us that the dealers are able to meet the needs of the customer, such as ramp access and accessible toilets within the showroom, and we look to have this information within their WAV Compare profiles,” said James.
With more growth forecast in the market, the WAV comparison site confirmed it is now considering expanding its comparison services to complementary products in the mobility sector, as well as continuing to grow the dealers it works with.
“Although we have the largest number of WAV vehicles available in one place in the UK there is certainly room to grow and improve the platform,” said James.
“Our aim is to increase our coverage – we have nearly 25 dealers across the UK but room for more to help us deal with the enquiries we receive. Sometimes people do want to visit a dealer near them, so if we can promote and pass enquiries on to these selected dealers it will be of benefit to all.”
With specialist dealers and private sellers allowed to advertise wheelchair accessible vehicles on the platform, James finished by confirming a new website feature due to launch which may offer an opportunity for wheelchair and scooter suppliers to play a part in.
“We also have new features for the WAV Compare website, such as being able to find a vehicle based on wheelchair / scooter width, that will go live soon.”