From Ford’s iconic promotion which defined their huge white Transit vans as the backbone of Britain, to the rise of the internet shopping era and the surge in demand for transportation, the white van man—or ‘man with a van’—has been a part of Britain’s history for decades and is set to become a defining part of its future too.
We all know the stereotypical white van man, characterised by a rough and ready approach and the tendency to run around doing odd jobs. But with consumer trends leaning towards purchasing everything from groceries and household goods to hardware and appliances online, the 21st century white van man will be more defined by hard work, long hours, and large corporate contracts.
Data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows the number of vans sold in the UK in 2015 to have increased over the previous year by around 35,000 sales. Many of these sales refer to not outright purchases but contract leases, which have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years.
Chief executive of SMMT Mike Hawes exclaims, “White man van is definitely back”, adding, “Demand for vans is growing inexorably as the economy continues to grow.”
The Era of Online Shopping
We’re always open to more convenient ways to shop.
Just by looking at what’s happened to our high streets you can see that convenience is very high on our list of priorities.
Today, £1 in every £5 spent in Britain on non-food items is done so through online vendors, according to data from the British Retail Consortium.
Online megastores like Ebay and Amazon have experienced a consistent rise in purchasing activity and new customers, causing a greatly welcomed knock-on effect for transport companies to expand their fleets and take on more drivers.
Leasing is the New Owning
As an alternative to purchasing the vehicles themselves, businesses are turning to leasing as a flexible way to expand and manage the size of their fleets.
President of the National Courier & Despatch Association Kevin Grey supports this notion, as he is witnessing first hand the many associations members using contract leasing services.
One of the most popular methods of vehicle leasing for companies is Contract Hire.
Companies use Contract Hire to make additions to their fleet and have everything from the little day-to-day admin tasks to vehicle maintenance and insurance taken care of externally.
The demand for commercial vehicles is only going to get bigger. And as more companies are becoming aware and utilising services like Contract Hire, we expect to see sustainable growth and a prosperous future for van drivers and transport companies alike.