An estimated 50 million people with disabilities live in the United States. No different than anyone else, we all share the necessity to shop for our needs and the desire to shop for what we want. It cannot be denied that 50 million people with disabilities have the power to significantly impact our national economy and beyond to our local economy.
Recently, the Marketing Anthropology Project, a program of the National Business & Disability Council at the Viscardi Center, commissioned Cygnal to conduct a national survey to measure how consumers’ buying decisions were influenced by business practices toward individuals with disabilities.
The survey brought to light extraordinarily valuable information on how consumers chose where and how to shop for what they need and want. Some key findings include:
· 73 percent of consumers will purchase goods/services from a business if they knew the business employs individuals with disabilities
· 66 percent will purchase goods/services from a business that features individuals with disabilities in their advertising
· 78 percent will purchase from a business that takes steps to ensure easy access for individuals with disabilities at their physical locations
· 70 percent of consumers will purchase from a business that takes steps to ensure easy access for individuals with disabilities on their website, kiosk or mobile app
· 65 percent of consumers are less likely to purchase from a business that has been fined by the federal or state government because they discriminated against individuals with disabilities
· 62 percent of consumers believe that businesses didn’t do enough to market to consumers with disabilities
“What the findings show is that US consumers are highly sensitive to the way businesses treat individuals with disabilities,” said Cory Brown, Cygnal’s vice president for data & strategy. “When deciding how to shop, Americans overwhelmingly take into account how businesses treat their disabled employees; how they feature them in advertising; and how they provide access to their stores or online experiences. Interestingly enough, this seems to stems from a majority of people reporting that they experience some sort of impairment or disability themselves.”
Part of the Disability Network of West Michigan’s mission is to promote accessible communities and inclusion. We actively seek out willing participants to evaluate their business practices so that they can be inclusive to all consumers.
The survey’s findings alone should urge and highly motivate businesses to review their practices and adjust their targeted audiences to be more inclusive. People living with disabilities have incredible buying power. The businesses that learn, adapt and demonstrate inclusion will only benefit.