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Criticality of Accessibility in e-Commerce

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The online shopping landscape has been steadily expanding both in the United Kingdom (UK) and globally as businesses ensure they’re not left behind in this digital revolution; e-commerce in the UK was estimated to account for about 20% of total retail sales at the beginning of 2020, that was a 2% raise on the previous year, however, the pandemic has seen shopper flock to online store causing an increase to 35% of retail sales being completed online, shown in the Office for National Statistics Internet Sales report and this trend does not seem to show any sign of slowing. Who can blame shoppers though, with price comparison and greater variety as the leading motivations for online shopping in the UK from 2018 to 2020.

This has caused one massive problem though, inclusivity, many e-commerce sites have substantial accessibility failings, placing barriers for people with disabilities purchasing goods online with 73% of disabled customers experiencing barriers on more than a quarter of browsed websites.

The Purple Pound report conducted in the UK, highlighted the critical importance of the inclusion of accessibility in your online business strategy, with more than 1 in 5 potential UK consumers have a disability, with businesses losing £2 billion a month by ignoring the needs of disabled people. And critically 75% of disabled people and their families have walked away from a UK business because of poor accessibility.

Research has shown how various sectors lose money each month by not being accessible. A breakdown can be found below:

High Street Shops – £267 million

Restaurants/Pubs/Clubs – £163 million

Supermarkets – £501 million

Energy Companies – £44 million

Phone/Internet Providers – £49 million

Transport Providers – £42 million

Banks or Building Societies – £935 million
1 in 5 – More than 1 in 5 potential UK consumers have a disability.

£2 billion – Businesses lose approximately £2 billion a month by ignoring the needs of disabled people.

73% – 73% of potential disabled customers experience barriers on more than a quarter of websites they visited.

£16 billion – Taking averages per head, the online spending power of disabled people is estimated at over £16 billion.
Visualisation of Loss of Money for Business per Month & Important Statistics (Source: PurplePound)

Therefore, extrapolating with 75% of 1 in 5 of all users not completing their transaction with a business due to its poor accessibility, potentially 15% of potential customers have abandoned a transaction with your business simply because your have not implemented a robust accessibility strategy.

This article was last updated on April 6th 2021.

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