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The disability market is about the size of China and is emerging as other markets have in the past—1.3 billion people and $1.2 trillion in annual disposable income.
With an estimated population of 1.3 billion, people with disabilities (PWD) constitute an emerging market the size of China. Their Friends and Family add another 2.3 billion potential consumers who act on their emotional connection to PWD. Together, they control over $8 trillion in annual disposable income. The aging Boomer population is adding to the number of PWD daily. As Boomers' physical realities change, their need and desire to remain active in society dovetails with the demands of PWD. Consumers that care about the disability market are increasingly directing their loyalty, and their consumer spend, to companies that demonstrate action inclusive of people with disabilities—as employees and as customers.
Momentum is driving organizations to act on disability now
In 1Q2014, seven large consumer-facing firms ran advertising including disability. Great brands are acting to incorporate PWD into their core messages and campaigns. They leverage learnings from PWD and elevate their unique attributes to speak to the entire marketplace. Friends and Family react strongly and emotionally to direct as well as subtle cues that connect brands to PWD. They change their buying behavior and 'preach' their loyalty passionately. These folks become brand ambassadors and lifetime customers.
Mature brands today are hungry to find new ways to engage consumers. Aging Boomers represent a cohort whose functional needs are changing, as is the way that they self-identify. In weaving a PWD message into brand experiences, firms engage at a basic, powerful emotional level. Smart brands will adapt to the changing demands of boomers, the wealthiest demographic in human history.