Shift in UK shopping habits brings a permanent boost to Driver Hire
A core strength of the Driver Hire business is the broad range of sectors that its customers operate in. As you would expect, we work with many, if not all of the major names in the UK haulage industry. The construction and manufacturing sectors are also vital elements of our business, and we also work extensively with the public sector – for example with local authorities and the NHS.
Nonetheless, supporting the UK retail sector is naturally a core part of Driver Hire’s business mix. In recent years, the growth of online retail has seen a major shift in the way many companies and private individuals go shopping. This has supported strong growth for many Driver Hire offices, in supplying drivers for both long-haul and “final mile” deliveries, as well as warehouse staff and other logistics roles.
After a challenging few months for the UK economy, official figures from the Office for National Statistics show positive trends in many of the sectors that Driver Hire supports. For example, the August “Purchasing Managers’ Index” report for manufacturing showed the strongest growth in factory activity since February 2018 and new orders increasing at the fastest rate since November 2017.
Meanwhile the UK retail sector in July was actually up by 1.4% on the same time in 2019. But the most dramatic shift was towards online sales. IMRG, the UK’s online retail association, reported that online retail in July 2020 was 28.3% up year-on-year. The same source reports that 33% of all retail sales were online in May 2020. That’s around double what it was in 2017.
“Perhaps we should not be surprised by the explosive growth of online shopping in recent months,” comments Jeremy Neale, Managing Director, Driver Hire UK. “Given the lockdown, it provided a safe way for people to purchase the supplies they needed. On the other hand, I think the experience will have changed people’s shopping habits for good. That’s good news for Driver Hire. We provide an essential service to companies that deliver to your door – flexible, high quality staff, just when they are needed. It’s one more reason why we are feeling confident about the future.”