17 July 2020

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2.51bn business mileage increase highlights COVID-19 recovery.

  • Data analysis reveals the impact of COVID-19 lockdown on business travel, with arts, education and retail showing sharpest monthly rise in fuel consumption.
  • Signs of recovery identified, as Allstar estimates 2.51 billion extra miles travelled by businesses in June vs. May, when lockdown restrictions started to lift
  • Bounce-back varies by sector, with consumption up between 34% and 275% across industries in late June, compared with peak lockdown in early April

Customer data analysis by Allstar Business Solutions today reveals the easing of lockdown has prompted the green shoots of recovery in business travel, with an estimated 2.51bn extra miles travelled by businesses in June compared to May – up 30.2% month-on-month.

These findings come as Allstar launches its new Business Barometer which will be tracking business mileage as an economic indicator of sector recovery. As the UK’s largest fuel card provider, Allstar will monitor the extent to which more than 50,000 companies are getting back on the road and which sectors have changed their travel habits the most.

While the impact of COVID-19 has been felt across all sectors of the economy, there are industries currently showing signs of recovery at a faster rate than others, with growth ranging 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 increase 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.

Paul Holland, MD 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.”

Tracking the recovery from a baseline during ‘peak lockdown’ (April 6-13), the analysis reflects the easing of lockdown measures in mid-May, when the government launched its return to work ‘COVID-19 Secure’ guidance, and June 15, when non-essential retailers reopened. Across all sectors, fuel consumption has risen 109% between w/c April 6 and w/c June 29, with arts, entertainment and leisure businesses reporting sharpest increase (275%), and agriculture, forestry and fishing remaining most steady (34% uplift).

As businesses continue returning to work, Allstar will be tracking the recovery sector by sector in its Fuel Barometer.

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