As figures are analysed to piece together a picture from last year’s European van market, there is a very clear parallel being drawn between a country’s overall economy and the registration of new vans. With perhaps the UK being the exception as citizens prove industrious in seeking out new opportunities as traditional industry and shopping habits encourage growth in the service industry.
This shift has lent to more cheap van insurance policies being upgraded to include courier services within their remit as armchair shoppers steer clear of the High Street and prefer their goods brought to the door. This, in a round about way, makes sense in a nonsensical manner.
Looking at the major European contributors to the Eurozone for reference, registrations of new vans drew direct comparison with their economies. Germany and France, whose economies seemed to escape the worst of the global downturn, finished 2011 recording high levels of new vans. France, the largest user of new vans on the continent, almost reached half a million units with Germany selling ten percent more than the UK’s final total of slightly more than 300,000 units.
Italy and Spain, whose economies are in grave danger of leaning on the central funding of the Eurozone, saw their van registrations fall, as did their countries outputs. This is obviously good news for van drivers as those who do register their new vehicles have the edge of competition on their side in the search for cheap van insurance as, with fewer units to insure, brokers sharpen their pencils to secure the business that is out there.
What has made the UK different is, although their economy grew by only 0.8% on the year, new van registrations were hiked by 17.6% on the year – this is a massive imbalance, compared to the rest of the continent, which finished up 7.5% overall for 2011.
The Low Emission Zone helped, with van drivers looking to escape the £100/day charge for non-Euro III compliant vehicles that came into being on January 3rd. On top of that, organisations, seeing their niches contract, hoped to capture more sales in different areas by offering larger fleet services. And, as mentioned above, the growth of courier services, as suggested by courier van insurance policy registration and more online organisations to help those looking to start a courier service springing to life on the Internet, the mix seems to justify the amount of new van registrations compared with the economic stagnation of last year. Confused? Me, too.
The question facing the industry this year, as the austerity drive seems to be hitting home harder rather than relenting, is will the home-shopping market record figures this year as it did in 2011 and sustain the fleet courier van market? We will have to wait and see, there.