Van rentals have surged in popularity to meet changing demands caused by lockdown, according to new data from Volkswagen Financial Services UK (VWFS).
VWFS says it has seen online van rental bookings on its Rent-a-Car platform increase by 219% over the past 12 months.
There has also been consistently high annual growth in van rentals across the first half of 2021, with January (+132%), February (+215%), March (+209%), April (+280%), May (+319%) and June (+130%) all up significantly compared to 2020.
Data analysts at VWFS suggest the surge in demand has been driven by changing landscapes in both retail and corporate sectors.
For example, many house buyers have been taking advantage of the latest stamp duty holiday, with Rightmove reporting that this year’s spring selling season started at a level not seen in a decade. It’s believed this rush of housing market activity has sparked a rise in van rentals among home movers.
In the corporate world, online shopping has become even more popular over the past 12 months – a trend which is expected to continue as more sectors emerge from lockdown.
Data released in February by the Office for National Statistics showed that online sales in Great Britain rose to a record high of 33.9% in 2020 as a share of all retail spending.
Many businesses now offer home delivery services in light of the pandemic, and need to rent more vans to meet rising demand from their customers.
The latest data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) also shows that year-to-date figures for the light commercial vehicle (LCV) market were up 75.9% on last year, and up 1.8% on the pre-pandemic 2015-2019 five-year average.
It reports that demand for vans was particularly bolstered by operators looking to renew and expand their fleets to meet rising online delivery business and demand from the construction sector.
Mike Todd, CEO at VWFS UK, said: “It’s fantastic to see the van rental market performing so strongly. The past 18 months have been incredibly challenging for so many people and as businesses big and small continue to adapt to a new normal, particularly in regard to the rise of online shopping, I expect that the van rental market will only go from strength to strength.”