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What EAA means for B2B across the globe

The deadline for adopting the European Accessibility Act is June 28, 2025. That might feel like it’s too far off to plan, but there’s no time to waste, particularly given that it applies to just about every company, no matter the region.

- By Lane Baumeister - Apr 17, 2024 Accessibility

The clock is ticking. The next big deadline of the European Accessibility Act (EAA) is fast approaching, and if your accessibility ducks aren’t lined up by June 28th, 2025, you’re at risk of legal action: Consumers will be able to file complaints against organizations that don’t adhere to the EAA’s requirements.  

For some B2B companies, it takes months to get their digital strategy fully oriented to accessibility, make and execute a plan, and then run automated and manual testing to make sure its on top of every detail and resolved every issue.   

If you’re just getting your feet wet with the ins and outs of EAA, here’s what you need to know now.  

What is EAA and what will be its impact? 

The EAA aims to standardize regulations among EU member states to make digital products and services more accessible to individuals with disabilities. It’s designed to benefit both businesses and individuals: Businesses will benefit from shared rules on accessibility across the EU; these harmonized standards mean access to large market opportunities across Europe, (disabled people make up a large market segment) while those persons with disabilities will have better access to products and services, transport, education, and jobs.  

It’s a critical piece of legislation from several perspectives. In terms of inclusivity, it’s simply the right thing to do — everyone should be able to participate in digital experiences as much as possible, just like any other experience.  

But it’s also critical from a business perspective: According to WHO, about 16 percent of the world population experience significant disability, which adds up to a lot of buying power. As The Drum puts it, “Businesses could be sacrificing millions in potential spend because of outdated websites, apps, designs, tech, or systems that cannot cater to this demographic.”  

Ultimately, EAA is designed to extend tobusinesses a larger advantage: the seamless flow of accessible products and services across all EU nations. Standardized accessibility rules across the EU, so the thinking goes, will expand customer choices and foster greater market growth and innovation, too.  

As for the cost savings, those are massive: The EU Commission estimates that differing accessibility requirements cost companies and member states €20 billion in 2020, and that the new EAA harmonization will reduce that by 45 to 50 percent. 

Where does EAA apply, and how is it relevant for B2B organizations?  

EAA doesn’t just apply to businesses based within the EU, but rather pretty much any entity that does business in the EU. That means it applies if you’re selling goods and services to customers there; working with a company that produces, distributes, or supplies and services in the EU; or if you’re a public agency.  

Here are examples of businesses covered by the EAA: 

  • Manufacturers of products like computers, smartphones, TVs, ticketing machines, or ATMs  
  • Service providers, e.g., telephone services, banking services, ecommerce platforms, or public transport  
  • Distributors such as retailers and wholesalers 

In terms of exemptions, the EAA does exclude “micro-enterprises,” which are companies with fewer than 10 employees and an annual balance sheet total not exceeding Є2 million.  

Additionally, certain types of material are exempt, such as: 

  • Pre-recorded time-based media (e.g., videos) published before June 2025 
  • Office file formats published before June 2025 
  • Online maps, if essential information is otherwise provided in an accessible way 
  • Third-party content that is not funded, developed, or under the control of an organization that must be compliant 
  • Archived content that won’t be updated after June 2025 

There is, however, some nuance in terms of its application to B2B businesses: If a site exclusively sells products and services to B2B businesses, then EAA doesn’t apply, but if the site serves both B2B and B2C businesses, then EAA does apply. If, for example, you have an ecommerce site like Alibaba or Amazon Business that sells only to B2Bs, then technically it doesn’t have to observe EAA.  

But just because it doesn’t have to doesn’t mean it shouldn’t.  

Firstly, and in line with the spirit of the EAA, remember that while you’re selling to other businesses, those businesses are still made up of people, and if, as mentioned above,16 percent of the world population lives with a significant disability, there's a good chance that the buyer-representative you're selling to has some form of disability. It makes good business sense to ensure that you create a frictionless digital experience for them. 

Secondly, let's say that your B2B business creates technology or software that’s then sold to B2C businesses in the public or private sector. Because those businesses need to be EAA compliant, they are therefore prioritizing accessibility compliance in their buying decisions and will also want to ensure that their offerings are EAA compliant.  

The 2025 deadline may seem far away, but overhauling your digital presence and ensuring your offerings appeal to buyers who require EAA-compliance takes resources and strategic planning. For large or complex sites, as noted, it can take literally months to plan, execute, and do manual and automated testing to make sure every item is complete. 

Compliance aside, accessibility is not a ‘one-and-done' project; rather, it’s a guiding principle to be woven into all aspects of business, from hiring practices to product development or content creation. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t resources available to guide your journey.  

The Siteimprove EAA Checklist is a simple, straightforward resource that takes you through the most common digital accessibility issues, from insufficient color contrasts to CAPTCHA systems.  

Get the EAA Checklist

Have questions about how to remediate these issues, or how to best plan for compliance by June 28, 2025? Our team is always happy to help. Reach out today to book a meeting.