33 Accessibility Statistics You Need to Know in 2021

Are you interested in the state of web accessibility in 2021? Then look no further.

Digital accessibility has become a pressing topic for virtually every business. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 2 billion people live with a disability, 20% of whom live with great functional difficulties in their day-to-day lives.

The stats show that with more people consuming content online, accessibility issues have spawned new regulations and guidelines such as WCAG that aim to level the playing field for people living with disabilities.

However, despite the growing number of accessibility lawsuits, many businesses have been slow to adopt an accessibility strategy. Today, it’s estimated that companies without accessible sites are losing $6.9 billion a year to competitors whose sites are accessible.

If you’re still considering whether to make your website accessible, here are 33 accessibility statistics to consider.

33 Eye-Opening Accessibility Statistics

We’ve grouped these accessibility statistics into different categories that show you:
  • How many people are affected by inaccessible websites
  • That many websites today are not yet compliant with accessibility laws
  • That you need more than widgets and fancy tools to be compliant
  • What non-compliance with the accessibility laws can cost you
  • How much revenue you can generate if your website is accessible
Let’s begin.

Statistics show that web accessibility issues impact a large portion of the population

Individuals with impairments or disabilities make up a considerable portion of the world’s population with access to the internet. To be able to reach as many people as possible, you need to make your website accessible.

  • 15% of the world’s population has some sort of disability (WHO)
  • 59.6% of the U.S. population with disabilities were living in a household with internet access (Statista)
  • 23% percent of disabled respondents say they “never” go online (Pew Research)
  • In the U.S., there are currently about 56.7 million Americans with a disability (Census Bureau).
  • Around 80 million people in the European Union (EU) currently have a disability (europarl.europa.eu)
  • By 2060 the number of people 65 or older is expected to double to 98 million (APA)
  • In the APAC region, approximately 20% of Australians have a disability (AIHW)
  • According to WHO statistics. 217 million people worldwide have moderate to severe vision impairment, which is expected to triple from 36 million to 115 million by 2050 (WHO)
  • Approximately 6.5 million people in the United States and 1-3% of the global population has an intellectual disability (American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities)
  • In the US, about 74.6 million people have some type of physical disability (John Hopkins Medicine. “Statistics of Disability.” 2013)
  • The population of people with different disabilities in the United States. Hearing Difficulty: 316,450,569; Vision Difficulty: 316,450,569; Cognitive Difficulty: 296,658,475; Ambulatory Difficulty: 296,658,475; Self-Care Difficulty: 296,658,475; Independent Living Difficulty: 242,958,638 (Census Bureau)

Takeaway

Brands with inaccessible websites are failing to accommodate a growing portion of the population. The number of people living with disabilities is expected to grow considerably over the coming decades which will only give rise to more guidelines, legislation, and enforcement. 

Statistics show that many web properties are not compliant with accessibility laws

There are various guidelines that govern the standards of web content accessibility. However, the majority of websites are still not compliant.
  • 90% of websites are inaccessible to people with disabilities who rely on assistive technology (AbilityNet).
  • 98.1% of home pages had detectable WCAG 2 failures (WebAIM)
  • Based on a study of 1M websites by AIM, low contrast is the most common reason (86.3%) for WCAG2 failures (WebAIM)
A bar graph showing the most common WCAG failures
  • Accessibility lawsuits and litigation increased by as much as 181% in the US from 2017 to 2018 (3playmedia.com)
  • In 2019, ADA statistics show that 2,256 lawsuits were filed in federal court by persons with disabilities based on web accessibility barriers (adatitleiii.com)
  • In 2020, digital accessibility lawsuits rose to over 3,500 cases, that's almost ten lawsuits filed every business day in the United States (UsableNet)
  • 21% of lawsuits are against companies who received web accessibility lawsuits in the past (UsableNet)
  • Desktop websites had 3235 legal claims for accessibility; Mobile apps had 296 claims; Video Accessibility had 150 claims; Combined Web & App had 16 claims; and Mobile Websites, 3 claims (UsableNet)
  • Retailers were cited the most in digital accessibility lawsuits (77.55% ), with food service companies in second place at 7.77% (UsableNet)
  • According to research conducted by Tenon, on average, you can find 279 A level and 106 AA level accessibility errors on a page (tenon.io)
  • 92% of the most popular federal websites fail to meet basic standards for accessibility, says a study from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

Takeaway
Since the majority of websites still don’t comply with web content accessibility guidelines, it comes as no surprise that accessibility lawsuits have risen sharply in recent years. Many of the lawsuits filed against digital properties - websites, apps, etc. - results from businesses failing to meet the most basic accessibility standards.

You can easily avoid lawsuits, and even give your business a competitive advantage, by implementing simple changes like adding alternative text to images and adjusting the color contrast on your website. You don’t need to become 100% compliant overnight, but you do need to show you’re making an effort.

Statistics show that basic accessibility widgets and automated testing are not enough to achieve full compliance

Many companies turn to widgets, overlays, and automated testing in an attempt to meet web accessibility standards. However, these widgets and automated testing tools are not enough.

  • Over 250 companies sued had invested in accessibility widgets or overlays (UsableNet)
  • The best-automated testing tools can only catch about 25% of accessibility issues (boia.org)

Takeaway

While basic widgets are the easiest place to get started with accessibility, they do not provide the functionality needed to achieve full compliance.

For that reason, you should consider investing in a dedicated web accessibility platform that allows you to easily monitor accessibility issues and manually address them to achieve compliance with all major accessibility guidelines and legislation such as WCAG 2.1, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title III of ADA, AODA and more.

Statistics show that providing an accessible website can boost revenue

The benefits of web accessibility compliance extend far beyond lawsuit prevention. Because so many businesses have been slow to invest in accessibility, there’s a big opportunity to gain a competitive advantage, increase market share, and ultimately generate more sales revenue.

  • People with disabilities spend a half-trillion dollars annually (UsableNet)
  • 73% of the people in the U.K. living with disabilities are unable to complete basic transactions on more than a quarter of the websites they visit (Click-Away Pound)
  • Two-thirds of e-commerce transactions are abandoned by people who are blind because of lack of accessibility (US Department of Commerce)
  • 82% say they would often return and spend more with a company that provides an accessible online experience (Click-Away Pound)
  • Companies without accessible sites are losing $6.9 billion a year to competitors whose sites are accessible (US Department of Commerce)

Takeaway
Improving web accessibility provides a number of tangible business benefits:
  1. Creates a competitive advantage
  2. Opens your business up to a large segment of the population
  3. Aligns with many SEO stats and best practices which help online rankings
  4. Increases customer satisfaction
When your business accommodates the needs of people living with disabilities, it stands you out from the crowd and provides a better overall user experience, which will help close more sales.

What Do These Accessibility Statistics Mean for Your Website?

The internet has become so integral in our lives that there is hardly anything we can do without it. Whether you want to shop, eat, travel, or entertain yourself, you can easily do so by visiting a website or app and clicking a few buttons.

But as impressive as the internet and websites are, not everyone has the same experience when using them.

The accessibility stats show that millions of people worldwide with disabilities find it difficult and frustrating to access websites. Leaving your website inaccessible means you’ll be missing out on a large portion of your target audience that could turn out to become repeat customers.

Although laws and guidelines exist to make websites more accessible, only a few companies understand that non-compliance to those laws means discrimination against people with disabilities.

Now that you know better, you can make the necessary changes to your digital properties, and in the process avoid lawsuits and create a competitive advantage.

Are Your Digital Properties Accessible?

At Monsido, we know one size doesn’t fit all, especially when it comes to web accessibility compliance. Our platform will ensure your website complies with all major guidelines such as WCAG, ADA, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and AODA.

Whether you want to make your existing website and digital properties accessible or want to create an entirely new accessible website from scratch, book a free demo to see how we can help you.