Have you ever asked yourself what you would do if you had to buy food for your family and couldn’t identify its sell-by date?

Or what if you needed to go to the market and couldn’t get there by yourself?

Or if you had a question for the salesperson and they asked you to accompany them instead of replying to you directly?

What if you bought a product, the packaging of which had been redesigned, and when you went to prepare your food you were unable to open it?

How would you feel? How would you react? You’d probably feel as if you were losing your independence as a consumer, as if you depended on other people to fulfill this important role for you. For most consumers these questions are merely hypothetical, but for millions around the world they’re unfortunately challenges they face on a daily basis.

Understanding the Vulnerability of Blind Consumers: Adaptation in the Marketplace, Personal Traits and Coping Strategies

The circumstances we have described above were just some of the challenges reported by people participating in a study recently published in the Journal of Marketing Management, entitled Understanding the Vulnerability of Blind Consumers: Adaptation in the Marketplace, Personal Traits and Coping Strategies, written by Claudia Falchetti, Mateus Canniatti Ponchio and Nara Lúcia Poli Botelho.

This study examined the vulnerability perceived by sixteen consumers who had undergone the sight loss process. By analysing their narratives, the authors show that increased emotional wellbeing is linked to increased ease in handling social situations, including consumption-related situations.

Conversely, the study shows that factors outside the control of these individuals or of their social networks (including family and friends), such as accessibility or inadequate service, represent obstacles to consumption, even for people who are more emotionally stable.

For these reasons it is believed that market players, governments and academic researchers should pay attention to marketplace factors that increase consumer vulnerability so that by understanding them they can help improve the quality of life of these people. For example, there seems much to do in relation to the extent of marketing communication;

visually impaired people are often not considered to be mainstream consumers and there is little concern with outlining product and service communication strategies for this group of consumers.

We believe it is important to give a voice to visually impaired consumers, based on their unique perspectives regarding marketplace interactions, which are notably different from those who have normal eyesight.

Thank you for your interest in reading this material and for any possible contributions you might wish to make to this work, which is available in full at the journal website.

Read the original research article: Falchetti, C., Ponchio, M.C., & Botelho, N.L.P. (2016). Understanding the vulnerability of blind consumers: adaptation in the marketplace, personal traits and coping strategies. Journal of Marketing Management, 32(3-4), 313-334. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0267257X.2015.1119710

This post is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, unless otherwise stated. Third party materials remain the copyright of the original rightsholder.

Claudia Falchetti

Claudia Falchetti

Claudia Falchetti is a researcher in consumer behaviour and a Ph.D. candidate in Marketing at Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing (São Paulo, Brazil). She dedicates her time to studying the vulnerability of consumers with physical and sensory disabilities.

Mateus Canniatti Ponchio

Mateus Canniatti Ponchio

Mateus Canniatti Ponchio is a professor of the Postgraduate Program in International Management at Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing (São Paulo, Brazil), where he carries out research into consumer behaviour. His research interests are: consumer values, consumer vulnerability and cross-cultural issues.

Nara Lúcia Poli Botelho

Nara Lúcia Poli Botelho

Nara Lúcia Poli Botelho is a clinical psychologist with a cognitive-behavioural background. She is Head of the Psychology Sector of the Department of Ophthalmology of the Federal University of São Paulo, where she is undertaking research with people who have eye diseases and are visually impaired.

Disclaimer: Any views expressed in this posting are the views of the Author(s), and are not necessarily the views of the JMM Editors, Westburn Publishers Ltd. or Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.