The business case for communications accessibility

By making your customer communications accessible in a timely way from personal monthly statements to documents in all formats, you’re gaining access to a growing and influential market. There’s a powerful business case for doing accessibility right, besides the fact that it’s the right thing to do.

The accessibility opportunity

Think that people with low vision or blindness are a small, niche market without economic impact? Think again! It pays to create great customer experiences and relationships. Gain and retain your share of a growing market. Check out these numbers.


The boomer bulge is getting older fast, which means a rapid rise in people with low vision. In 2020, 60 million Americans will be over 65, compared with 40 million today. By 2050, one-fifth of the population, or almost 90 million people, are expected to be 65+.


The U.S. disability market population is about 3X the size of the U.S. Hispanic market. “Persons with Disabilities” (PWD), together with their friends and family, account for over 4.9T of purchasing power in North America. What’s more, 3 in 4 PWD’s and their families and friends move their business elsewhere as a result of lack of disability awareness.


Boomers own 80% of all money in savings and loan associations. The net worth and spending power of boomers and seniors is 3X that of younger generations. Boomers outspend younger adults 2:1. Our aging population is a demographic that’s not only big in terms of population, it represents a major concentration of wealth and disposable dollars.

Companies that are disability-friendly outperform those that aren’t

It’s official. The Return on Disability Index, listed on the New York Stock Exchange as RODI, demonstrates that firms with the highest results in disability-driven value creation outperform their competitors in terms of long-term stock price. A corporate culture of inclusiveness can result in innovations first intended to improve accessibility, but which then benefit everyone and impact sales. One example is Siri.

Act quickly. There’s a window of opportunity and an increase in risk.

You still have the opportunity to become a market leader in this space. Out of 1,136 major firms evaluated for their accessibility activity, 867 registered no score at all. This is an area where you can still create differentiation and positive brand associations for a relatively lower cost. Then there’s the downside. Not only is the regulatory environment getting tougher, but litigation against companies around accessibility has doubled over the last two years. The time to act is now!

Icon of pie chart that indicates the number of organizations without an accessibility score.

Out of 1,136 firms, 867 (76%) had no accessibility activity score

Two bars comparing 2014 and 2016, indicating the rise in litigation against companies for accessibility.

Lawsuits around accessibility have doubled

Sources include Extra Costs Commission, US Census, US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Return on Disability Group, Reader’s Digest, Economic Policy Institute, Forrester, 2009.