Petrol is falling in price, while demand for home deliveries is on the rise, and both these factors have seen a big increase in van sales, driven by a rise in numbers of newly launched delivery businesses. In fact, one Sunday paper reports there are now a third more delivery firms than there were a year ago. According to experts, many of these businesses drive just one or a couple of vans, and are established to look after the ‘last mile’ of deliveries.
The Freight Transport Association claims: “Demand for van drivers has shot through the roof, because online shopping has grown in popularity so much in recent years. People are needed to deliver right up to the front door. The UK is really leading the world when it comes to demand for web-based buying.”
By 2018, 25% of all non-grocery purchases are expected to be made online. Other stats say 28,510 freight transport companies registered with Companies House in the last year, a rise of over 7,250 on the previous year. In all, in the year to late November there were 368,000 new registrations, or a rise of over 16% on 2014. During the same period, under 1% of these businesses went bust. Confidence has been further boosted by affordable fuel, with both diesel and petrol now easily available for about £1 a litre.
One insurer said White Van Man was “a British institution” in the same way as Routemaster buses and red telephone boxes. The rise is for drivers who establish themselves as sole traders, as well as those who work for bigger organisations.
In all, 3.8 million vans now operate on Britain’s roads as the online shopping boom continues, and the UK economy slowly recovers. Access to finance and leasing deals improved, too, while the internet means drivers can bid for work easily, making life even better for delivery van operators.