SMMT report highlights importance of vans to the UK economy

01 May 2019

The importance of vans to the UK economy has been revealed in new research released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The research reveals that one in 10 UK workers – 3.4 million people – uses or depends on a van for their work, while vans contribute £56 billion a year (11% of GDP) to the economy in wages alone.

Released to coincide with the opening of the CV Show, the report – Light Commercial Vehicles: Delivering for the UK Economy – also shows the CO2 emissions of new vans is down 10.4%, highlighting the important role vans play in reducing emissions.

Conducted jointly with management and technology consultancy, BearingPoint, the study additionally found that the UK’s two major van manufacturing plants, as well as a thriving sub-economy of van conversion companies and a strong aftermarket sector also make a massive contribution to the economy. Around 900,000 used vans change hands every year, while the annual new light commercials market is estimated to be worth nearly £10 billion.

The UK van parc has experienced significant growth in recent years, up 59% since 2000 – almost double the growth seen in cars. The boom in online shopping has seen a surge in demand for delivery vans. The UK is now the EU’s biggest online retail market, with 83% of consumers here buying goods and services online, compared with the EU average of 60%. Meanwhile, the rapid rise in the number of self-employed people, up from 3.3 million in 2001 to 4.8 million in 2017, has also been a key driver of van growth, with the trend to vehicle downsizing another factor.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “The UK’s van fleet is the backbone of our society, driving our economy and allowing millions of workers to carry out jobs that our country relies on. Industry is supporting these businesses by responding to a changing society, developing and delivering the cleanest and safest vehicles in history. To continue to thrive, this vital sector needs policies and incentives that encourage businesses to invest in the latest technology that best suit their needs to help them deliver for Britain.”

James Rodger, Partner and UK&I Lead, BearingPoint, said, “The data analysis and interviews that we have conducted highlight the key role that the LCV sector plays in the UK economy. The report brings the data and the qualitative insights together to paint a picture of a diverse and vibrant sector which touches all our lives on a daily basis. Advancements in technology in the sector will ensure that the LCV continues to play a pivotal role in the years to come. We hope that this report contributes to the better understanding and appreciation of the LCV sector in the UK.”

For the full report, click here.