As high streets begin to recover from the pandemic, accessibility and disability data organisation Handiscover is demanding that shopping centres are made more accessible for disabled shoppers.
This comes after a survey that revealed that nearly two thirds (64%) of disabled respondents have been prevented from visiting a shopping centre due to its lack of accessibility.
Handiscover reports that more than 14 Million people in the UK live with a long term illness or disability requiring specific accessibility needs, which emphasises the need for improved accessibility.
It claimed that if widespread improvements were made across the retail industry the UK economy could benefit by up to 25%, or almost £1 Billion per month.
Handiscover has now released its ‘Accessibility Standard for Shopping Centres and Malls’ document, which it offers for free.
It also has a programme for use by individual businesses looking to improve their accessibility.
Magnus Berglund, accessibility director at Handiscover, said: “Now that retail is starting to reopen across Europe, the industry has a huge opportunity to start catering for all customers by improving accessibility and how they communicate that level of accessibility before a consumer visits.
“With more and more retail spaces opening their doors once again post-COVID, even small changes to accessibility can radically increase customer satisfaction and growth.”
Meanwhile, Sebastien Archambeaud, CEO of Handiscover, added: “With roughly 25% people in Europe suffering from some form of disability, be that visible or non-visible, and with disabled consumers accounting for a potential market value of £249 billion per annum, it is easy to see why a renewed focus on accessibility for the retail sector is needed – both from an ethical and a commercial standpoint.”.