Internet retailing has driven the return of “white van man”, with annual sales of commercial vehicles climbing to their highest ever total.
The rise of online shopping has fuelled growth in the courier industry as consumers’ purchases are delivered to their doorsteps, boosting demand for delivery drivers and their vehicles.
Official data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders showed that 371,830 vans were sold in the UK in 2015, a rise of 15.6pc on 2014, and beating the previous record set in 2007 just before the financial crisis struck, when 337,741 were sold.
“White man van is definitely back,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive. “Demand for vans is growing inexorably as the economy continues to grow.”
The claim is backed up by data from the British Retail Consortium, which showed that online shopping was responsible for more than £1 in every £5 spent on non-food items in November.
How commercial vehicle sales have risen over the past 12 months
As consumers increasingly turn to online vendors such as Amazon and eBay, and traditional retailers set up web services to compete, the market for parcel delivery is expanding rapidly.
To cope with demand established giants in the delivery industry such as DHL have increased the number of owner-operator van drivers they employ on a contract basis.
“The ‘man with a van’ is going to work for larger companies,” said Kevin Grey, president of the National Courier & Despatch Association. He added that his own overnight delivery business Point to Point had increased its fleet by 30pc in the run-up to Christmas to meet festive demand but he now expects to keep on 20pc of the vehicles to fulfil contracts.
“We are definitely seeing more vans out there when we are out on the road,” he said. “The internet and online shopping is creating more and more demand and I can only see it getting bigger.”
Read the full article here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/industry/12087496/White-van-man-is-back-signalling-the-economy-is-stepping-up-a-gear.html