Disability is a market with a bright future

The purpose of this deliberately provocative title is to send a clear message to our French investors: the HandiTech sector can be both a profitable and meaningful investment thesis. In a context that calls for both prudence and reason, this market deserves to be considered so for three reasons.

First: its size and therefore potential

INSEE already calculated in 2011 that about 15% of the French population, i.e. more than 10 million of our compatriots, have a disability. If disability is still taboo in society, then it is a big mistake in our economy to treat it like that! Moreover, our American neighbors, who are once again far ahead of us, understood this well. Since 2017, the Nielsen Institute has thus published various reports reporting on the progress of people with disabilities in terms of consideration, targeting and even representation in advertising.

Meanwhile, in France, we see that 97% of merchant sites still have at least one blocking point on their homepage this year (source: research by WebAIM). It’s easy to imagine the dire shortage of our brands after the holiday season, which is traditionally favorable for online shopping, and in the run-up to sales. Therefore, I believe that there is an urgent need to capture this huge market. But on one condition: to understand it precisely, that is, with the logic of the so-called “validism” (this consumer is “out of the norm” and I must allow him to reach my norm), taking into account his expectations, his needs and his special uses.

Second: its almost inexhaustible source of innovation

It’s really no exaggeration to say that everything needs to be done here! However, digital technology has the power to address many of the accessibility challenges raised today. Take the video game sector as an example: there are an estimated 400 million players with disabilities worldwide, and this is probably an underestimate (source: Microsoft)! While innovations are well on their way to fueling this already bubbling ecosystem, others, more discreetly, are already allowing this community to play and consume (joysticks and adaptive switches, etc.). Furthermore, this constant invisibility of people with disabilities and this shame that paralyzes speech or positions on the issue has helped to surround any technological initiative on their behalf with an aura of mystery. However, it is important to remember here that the barriers to entry in digital accessibility are actually very low. We are talking above all about graphic, editorial or very simple technical conditions, which never weigh more than 10% of the total budget allocated especially for the design of websites.

Third: inclusion of digital disability is a matter of influence.

If in 2023 it is fashionable to integrate environmental prerogatives in the activities of organizations – now the necessary carbon measurement is in the foreground – here I would like to remind you that the “S” of “CSR” designates an equally fundamental component. . If we do not build “society” quickly, we will fail in any project to build this desired “world of tomorrow”. So yes, any innovative approach that provides accessibility for discriminated groups is part of the impact economy that more and more investors are now trying to support. Already in November 2021, the Mazars Institute and the AFG (asset management professionals’ federation) announced that almost a third of these companies plan to effectively finance their core activities in the future…

In conclusion, I would add that “HandiTech” is still a market for pioneers, a rare thing now in the country of start-ups! I like to think that our French investment funds and business angels are tired of betting on just another accounting dematerialization program, or worse, on a bright new idea that has yet to find its audience… the market exists, the demand is strong, the competition is weak and the risk take is actually extremely limited. As for innovation, it is concrete, tangible, simple and full of (common) meaning! The only requirement then: to remove the taboos that have paralyzed our economy for too long and finally dare to think of disability… As the market of the future!

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