Commercial vehicle shortage to hit Christmas sales

A shortage in commercial vehicle supply could see some businesses struggle to fulfil their delivery requirements during the busy Christmas period, according to Lex Autolease.

The UK e-commerce market is worth an estimated £78 billion, according to online retail association, IMRG, and cost £851 million to deliver its goods last year. With such a competitive market for commercial vehicles in advance of the festive period, supply is struggling to satisfy demand.

Lex Autolease, which operates a fleet of over 70,000 commercial vehicles witnessed a 266% increase in LCV demand between Q3 and Q4 last year. Most of the uplift was attributed to courier traffic, with the remainder accounting for seasonal requirements from other businesses, such as those in facilities management and support services.

Marcus Puddy, director and head of commercial vehicles at Lex Autolease, said: "Q4 is a notoriously busy period for commercial vehicles with couriers at full capacity delivering goods from a growing e-commerce sector. As large retailers often start their Christmas shopping preparations immediately after Boxing Day, short term rental lots will be largely empty by November.

"With the economic recovery still fragile, it is vital that businesses of all sizes put themselves in the best position to capitalise on any pre-Christmas spike in sales. Fleet managers need to start to addressing their festive vehicle requirements as early as possible or risk being left out in the cold.

"A shortage of quality stock to service strong demand has also pushed average LCV prices to an all-time high. We are working closely with businesses to ensure that they are exploring all the relevant funding and supply options to fulfil their commercial vehicle requirements."

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