Every business owner knows the importance of good customer service for anyone who enters your business or facility, but what about the customers that don’t even make it to your front door?
Consumer research reports have found people who encounter an access barrier or experience poor disability awareness at a brick-and-mortar and/or web business will simply move or click away to another site. The provision of “Good Access” is therefore vitally important to any business or facility.
Beside the fact that it’s unlawful in Australia to not provide equal access to goods and services, the provision of “Good Access” makes genuine, good business sense.
In our last blog in the SCIAW Blog Series, we delved into the detrimental effects that social exclusion can have upon an individual, particularly someone with a disability. It also explored how society, including small and local businesses have a role to play in helping to overcome social exclusion for people with disability. Through making a conscious effort to remove any attitudinal and/or physical barriers at your premises, you are contributing to a more inclusive society.
While we’ve spoken about the strong and obvious human rights and moral reasons for improving social inclusion, we haven’t yet touched on how inclusion also generates a range of financial and economic benefits – and there are many!
Research by Deloitte Access Economics estimated the economic dividend to Australia from having a more inclusive society to be $12.7 billion annually. While this figure encompasses a broad spectrum of minority groups, people with disability make up a large proportion of this study.
We know that approximately 1 in 5 (or almost 20%) of our population here in Australia have a disability. This increases to 35% when we take into account people with temporary disabilities due to injury or illness. We also know that people with disability are accessing the community in ways and frequency that we haven’t seen in decades past.
The NDIS is helping to fuel the Australian economy. The NDIS is essentially a $22bil opportunity to businesses, as the money going into the NDIS flows into our communities.
Currently in Australia there are over 450,000 people accessing NDIS funding annually. In the last 12 months, each NDIS participant, on average, was allocated $8,600 per annum to fund “Social and Community Participation”. This translates to around $3.5bil/annum being invested into enabling people with disability to access and participate in their communities. These same people were estimated in 2014 to have a combined disposable income of $54mil.
Known colloquially as the “disability dollar”, the financial opportunity that “Good Access” presents to businesses is therefore enormous on any scale.
Additional proof that the “disability dollar” exists as a genuine market opportunity for Australian businesses comes from a report by Monash University called “Putting a dollar value on accessibility.” The report, which was commissioned by the City of Melbourne, found that:
- For every $1 invested into accessible environments, $13 was generated as return revenue.
- Universally accessible retail environments benefitted from a 20 to 25% increase in turnover, when compared to non-accessible environments.
For the tourism industry, studies have shown that:
- People with disability spend $8 billion annually on tourism services.
- On average, people with disability spent more on day trips than people without disability, $111 compared with $106.
- People with disability take around 9 million day trips each year, accounting for 21 per cent of all day trips.
Aside from the financial and social benefit, accessibility could be the competitive edge you need. Australia has a shortage of accessible venues, presenting a significant gap in the market that you could fill. We know that people with a disability are far more likely to become return customers and brand advocates when discovering welcoming and accessible businesses and venues.
All this evidence adds up to the fact that, if you’re one of the $2.4mil businesses currently operating in Australia and you’re not providing people with disability equal access to your goods and services, you are missing out on an enormous opportunity – one that potentially could increase your business’ revenue by more than 20%!
Get in contact today to see how we can assist your business to tap into this lucrative market segment. Spinal Life Australia’s Access and Inclusion Consultant provides a discreet, solutions-focussed approach to maximising access and inclusion, often with surprising ease.