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Retailers missing out on Purple Pound

New research has shown retailers could be missing out on a share of the £249bn spent by disabled shoppers each year because of accessibility issues.

A survey of 501 people who consider themselves to have a disability found that while they individually spend an average of £163 per month on retail, inaccessible and unusable locations, poor customer service and a lack of understanding about disabilities meant they struggled to spend. In high street shops, collective spend of disabled customers is £267m every month.

More than half of respondents said they had experienced difficulty making a purchase online or in store because of their disability on more than one occasion. That figure rose to more than three-quarters for respondents aged between 16 and 24.

Four in five believe that businesses could do more to be inclusive. More than half agreed that improving staff understanding about different disabilities would encourage them to spend their disposable income and more than one-fifth said that retailers hiring more disabled people would make them more likely to make a purchase.

The survey was conducted by Purple, the disability organisation behind Purple Tuesday, which will take place on 12 November and encourage retailers to make commitments to improving the customer experience for disabled people.

Mike Adams OBE, chief executive of Purple, said: “While many UK businesses and organisations are stepping up to the mark and making the changes needed to improve disabled customers’ experiences, far too many are not.

“This is a huge mistake, not least because by turning their backs on disabled shoppers, they are losing out on millions of pounds of revenue every year.

“It should simply not be the case that one in two disabled people struggle to make purchases online or in person. Small changes can make a big difference to the customer experience. We want to help organisations have the confidence to improve their services for disabled people.”

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