The Big Hack research into the business case for inclusive design
We’ve researched the numbers to find out how much businesses are missing out by not developing inclusive digital websites, apps and products.
The Scope Research team, partnered with Open Inclusion, have announced the results of a recent study into the spending and purchasing power of disabled people online. These findings support much of the feedback we have had from disabled people adding their voices to our Big Hack Reporting Tool survey.
These findings are the first to be released as part of our ongoing business case to companies to build accessibility into all their digital services. Sign up to our newsletter to be the first to see the full research review when it comes out.
How a lack of inclusive design affects spending decisions
Half of the people surveyed who experienced problems buying goods or services through a website, app or in-store machine ended up not buying the product. Another 48% found a different provider and purchased their products elsewhere.
When businesses fail disabled customers online, most will choose to abandon the purchase or find another company with a more accessible website. While respondents could select multiple options, these were the top responses:
- 50% of respondents chose not to buy the item
- 48% found an alternative provider to buy the item more easily
- 32% asked someone in their household to complete the purchase for them
- 20% did something else. Most respondents request a friend, carer or member of staff’s assistance (most in-store, one via telephone and one via live chat phone helpdesk) including one respondent asking their carer to go to the shop on their behalf.
I’m unable to book tickets to theatres or gigs. Unable to find accessibility information for business and services online. Unable to flag to companies that I have access needs. For example, utility companies, doctors clinics.
Where people experience the most digital accessibility issues
We know that accessibility issues are prominent in all industries. We asked disabled users which category most of their poor digital experiences online fell into.
At the top of the list was groceries with 39% of respondents saying they experienced difficulty purchasing or ordering food or drink online.
Train-booking websites were the second most common area, with 38% of users reporting difficulty using train travel services online. In third place, 36% of respondents reported poor digital experiences with clothing and footwear retailers.
|Category for most common poor digital experiences||Percentage of respondents who experienced issue|
|Groceries (food or drink to eat at home)||39%|
|Trains (above ground)||38%|
|Clothing and footwear||36%|
|Food or drink to eat out or takeaway||30%|
|Hotels, Motels, Bed and Breakfasts||26%|
|Entertainment, sports and leisure||25%|
|Phone and internet bills||25%|
|Homewares, furnishings, small appliances, garden products||22%|
|Utilities (electricity, water, gas, other fuels)||21%|
|Medical or dental services||19%|
Note: A ‘digital experience’ describes any time when the respondent had to use a computer or the internet.
I would like to spend more than I currently do, but I can’t because it’s such a laborious task. If websites, apps and stores were more accessible, then I’d spend more because I’d have no restrictions. The Purple Pound is worth a lot, but businesses don’t seem to realise this and put the effort in to make their products and websites accessible in order to benefit from the purple pound.
Most common accessibility barriers faced online
When asked about which issues made shopping online tricky, 47% of respondents said website navigation was the main issue for them. Other top issues included CAPTCHA puzzle or other checkout requirements (45% of respondents experiencing a barrier to purchasing) and difficulty with registering (34%).
|Accessibility issue||Percentage of respondents who experienced issue|
|Navigating around the website||47%|
|Cannot complete CAPTCHA puzzle or other checkout requirements||45%|
|Difficulty registering online||34%|
|Having to use the phone service and speaking with a salesperson||30%|
|Difficulty finding things they want and putting them in the basket||28%|
|Worrying they will get scammed||28%|
|Worrying they will be charged extra money||27%|
|Finding it difficult to pay for things and check out||25%|
|Finding it difficult to understand the details of a website (e.g. price or tariffs)||22%|
|Phone staff are not helpful or respectful||22%|
The businesses missing out
When asked if UK businesses are losing out because their services are not inclusive enough, 75% of respondents said yes.
Disabled people were asked what they would like to spend more money on if the products, apps and websites to purchase were accessible, and if money were no object. For example, spending more money on film-subscription services (entertainment) if it was more accessible to them.
The biggest proportion of people at 67% said they would spend more money on entertainment, sports and leisure if there were no barriers to access. Clothing and footwear was the second largest area with 53% of respondents suggesting they would like to spend more money, followed by hotel bookings at 44%.
The potential of The Purple Pound
The latest Purple Pound estimate is £274 billion according to the Scope’s analysis of the ONS, Household Below Average Income Survey for 2017 to 2018.
The Purple Pound is the aggregate income (after housing cost) of households with at least one disabled person. It’s a proxy for the purchasing power of the disabled community.
Our next research phase hopes to break these spending categories down further and work out just how much money businesses are missing out on.
We believe businesses can, and should, build more inclusive products and services. Sign up to our newsletter to be the first to hear about our latest research, news and events. Or, check out our Resources Hub for free accessibility resources and guides and learn how to become an inclusive design ally.
If you would like to learn more about how to get involved, please email The Big Hack Team at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on Twitter @ScopeBigHack.
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The Big Hack is an open community, and if you have an idea, or an article, about how to make the digital world more inclusive, we want to hear from you.Message us about a contribution