Green shoots of recovery in business travel revealed in Allstar research
The easing of lockdown has prompted the green shoots of recovery in business travel, with an estimated 2.51 billion extra miles travelled by businesses in June compared to May – up 30.2% month-on-month.
The fuel card provider’s data, based on figures from more than 50,000 companies, show which sectors have changed their travel habits the most.
While all sectors of the economy have been hit by Covid-19, some are covering faster than others; increases in fuel consumption range between 11.3% and 101.6%.
The largest month-on-month increases were seen in sectors perceived to be hit hardest initially by lockdown; arts, entertainment and recreation rose sharpest (101.6%) followed by education (47.8%). Meanwhile, fuel usage in the wholesale & retail sector increased by 46.0%, manufacturing rose by 40.5% and the construction sector increased by more than a third (34.3%)
Conversely, activity in essential services like agriculture, forestry and fishing (11.3%), utilities (20.2%) and transportation (22.1%) witnessed less of a sharp bounce back in June and remained more consistent month-on-month. The public sector has also shown signs of uplift since lockdown began to ease in May, with health and social care fuel usage increase by almost a fifth (17.0%) month-on-month.
The increase in business travel is even more pronounced when tracking the recovery from a baseline during ‘peak lockdown’ (6-13 April) to the end of June. Across all sectors, fuel consumption has risen 109% over this period, with arts, entertainment and leisure businesses reporting sharpest increase (275%), and agriculture, forestry and fishing remaining most steady (34% uplift).
Paul Holland, managing director of UK fuel at Fleetcor, Allstar’s parent company, said: “It comes as no surprise that a significant impact has been felt across the board but every litre of fuel used since lockdown tells its own story of a business adapting, and often diversifying, to meet changing needs. It’s promising to see further signs of recovery as vehicle fleets that were mothballed in full lockdown have begun to re-emerge, helped by fuel prices broadly remaining at a four-year low.
“Looking ahead, the pace at which businesses return to a more normalised performance and whether we see a change in patterns of business travel and an ongoing increase in home deliveries will be fascinating. The Allstar Business Barometer provides unique insight into the evolution of the post-Covid UK economy, which will help businesses benchmark their own recovery.”