What is the Purple Pound?

The Purple Pound is the spending power of disabled people and their households. In the UK, this market is worth an estimated £274 billion a year.

The value of the Purple Pound (We are Purple)

There are 16 million disabled people in the UK. That’s 1 in 4 of us. Many of these potential customers can’t get what they need. This is because of accessibility issues. 73% of disabled online shoppers have experienced barriers on over a quarter of the websites they visited. And 4 in 10 disabled people said they can’t visit local shops because they are inaccessible.

High street shops are inaccessible to nearly half of all disabled people (Mirror)

These experiences are obviously frustrating for disabled people. And businesses are losing customers. 70% said they would not return to a business after getting bad customer service.

Improving your business’s accessibility online

Making accessible websites is important to attract and keep Purple Pound customers.

Half of disabled online shoppers who have problems buying items give up. And a Scope survey found 47% of disabled people had issues navigating websites.

The business case for accommodating disabled customers (Scope)

Web accessibility is essential for people with access needs. The main areas of web accessibility include:

  • using plain English and simple language
  • alt text on images
  • good colour combinations and contrast
  • accessible and easy to read fonts
  • closed captions on videos
  • heading tag structure
  • hyperlink text
  • keyboard-only navigation

A beginners guide to digital accessibility (Scope)

Accessible websites benefit all customers. A good heading tag structure and descriptive hyperlinks make navigating web pages easier. Alt text on images is helpful if they don’t load. Video captions are useful for people wanting to watch with the sound off. And using plain language keeps your messaging easier to understand.

Conduct a web accessibility audit (Scope)

In store accessibility

The government ran a survey in 2001. Over 30% of disabled people said they had difficulty using public spaces ‘all the time’. 78% said they had frequent difficulty accessing shops and shopping centres.

UK disability survey research report (GOV.UK)

Making your business more accessible doesn’t just help disabled customers. It is also the law. UK businesses have a legal duty to make sure disabled people have equal access. This is considered a reasonable adjustment and comes under the Equality Act 2010.

Reasonable adjustments that shops and venues have to make include:

  • wide aisles without clutter
  • clear and easy to read signage
  • accessible toilet
  • accessible parking
  • installing ramps, lifts and handrails
  • installing automatic doors and making doorways wider

Not making reasonable adjustments for disabled customers is unlawful discrimination.

Inclusive customer training for employees

Providing good customer service to disabled people might mean doing things differently. Inclusive customer training will help staff feel more confident around disabled customers. And help them understand the barriers they face.

This training can cover:

  • disability equality
  • using inclusive language
  • making sure employees know about the facilities available (like lifts and accessible toilets)

It is also recommended that businesses appoint an Accessibility Champion.

Accessibility Champions

An Accessibility Champion is a role in an organisation who promotes disability inclusion. They are there to help develop accessibility requirements across your entire business. This will help you remove access barriers. And better understand disabled consumers’ needs.

The role can include:

  • setting achievable goals for your organisation
  • promoting alternative methods to improve accessibility
  • providing feedback on services and products
  • being involved in all future projects to make sure accessibility is being considered

Employing disabled workers also brings valuable insight into the needs of disabled customers.

3 tips for employing disabled talent (Scope)

Involving disabled people in your customer research

In 2021, UK businesses spent £46.9 billion on research and development. But they often don’t do research into the specific needs of disabled customers.

Business enterprise research and development (GOV.UK)

Engaging with disabled people during your research phase provides wider customer insight. It will also help you better understand the valuable Purple Pound market. Consumer focus groups can help you understand the different barriers disabled people experience.

Scope offers disabled customer research for businesses. Our research panels have disabled people and their families. They can provide companies with tailored feedback on services and products.


Disabled consumer research