Demand for vans is set to power the recovery of the daily rental sector post-lockdown.
That’s according to fleet software firm Epyx, which says overall volumes on its 1link Hire Network platform have reached 60% of pre-lockdown levels.
The firm’s vice president and commercial director Tim Meadows said that while this might not sound like a great recovery, demand at the peak of lockdown was extremely low, with only essential service fleets taking vehicles.
He said: “We are viewing this as a definite and marked turnaround. Volumes certainly appear to be picking up and solidifying, a trend that is being powered almost entirely by vans and other light commercial vehicles as the economy moves into the ‘new normal’.
“Most of the demand now being seen is coming from the types of businesses that have proven countercyclical during the coronavirus crisis, such as home delivery and pharmaceuticals. Rental-wise, these businesses are leading the way out of lockdown.”
However, Meadows added that rentals from other sectors also appeared to be gradually emerging as businesses restarted normal activities.
“The picture is, as you would expect, very patchy, but we are beginning to see van rentals from other companies as they return to work and as increasing numbers of staff are unfurloughed,” he said.
“Our feeling is that we do not necessarily expect to see an unbroken upwards line in rental volumes over the rest of 2020. It is possible, even probable, that there are some hiccups along the way, especially if there are disruptive factors such as more local lockdowns of the kind now being seen in Leicester.
“However, we are confident that there will be a gradual underlying recovery.”