In an article on the BBC’s website, Canadian Rich Donovan estimates the market “comprises about 1.3 billion people with disabilities worldwide, plus an additional 2.42 billion people once their friends and family are taken into account, which Donovan describes as “huge”. Rich goes on to say that companies are still looking at disability from the wrong angle – it is an emerging market, not a niche market. That is why it has gone unseen for so long.
Embracing inclusion brings into perspective the family members and friends who are attached to every person with disability and sheds the perspective of the individual – the historical figure of the “poor unfortunates”. Rich says, “Disabled people don’t want ‘special’ products, but they are hungry to be included in the mainstream consumer experience. The article discusses how companies such as Google have taken on the challenges of creating truly inclusive products, including a car a blind person can drive. The same thinking processes can be applied to any marginalised group in society.
Times are changing and a few marketing professionals are re-thinking their markets – thinking inclusion. But there is still a long way to go – attitudes are difficult to change. See related article from the Australian Human Rights Commission and their report, Missing Out: The business case for customer diversity.