Reliance on commercial vehicles


90% of Britons 'worse off without commercial vehicles'

The extent of British consumers’ reliance on commercial vehicles has been revealed in new research published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders

Although commercial vehicles’ role in society is often overlooked, when asked to think about the day-to-day activities that require the use of commercial vehicles (such as catching a bus and receiving online groceries), 84% of respondents to a YouGov survey said they recognised their importance. 

The survey also found that 46% of respondents had directly benefitted from a commercial vehicle within the past 24 hours.  Receiving post and online deliveries were the most popular daily uses, while 79% said they benefitted from CVs at least once a week.  Rubbish collection was the most commonly recognised weekly use.  Regularly travelling by bus or minibus and taking a taxi were other popular ways to use commercial vehicles.

Further, when presented with a list of situations, 88% said that reduced or restricted services from commercial vehicles would significantly affect their quality of life.  Less frequent rubbish collection was seen as having the biggest impact, with 67% stating this would negatively affect them.  Meanwhile, 38% said that less frequent bus services would impact their life, and 32% said the same about the idea of increased time to receive online deliveries.

As well as delivering essential services, Britain’s commercial vehicle fleet is increasingly serving the growing demand for online purchasing.  The UK is now the EU’s biggest online retail sector, with consumers here buying some £67.3 billion worth of goods and services online in 2017.  In fact, online sales are estimated to have made up 17.6% of all retail sales last year.  

“There are five million commercial vehicles on Britain’s roads and they play a vital role in powering our essential services,” the SMMT’s Chief Executive Mike Hawes said.  “They are the backbone of our economy, and manufacturers invest heavily in technology with the latest CVs on our roads today the cleanest, safest and most advanced in history.”

From the 1.8 million sole traders who depend on their vans for their livelihoods, to the 17,228 ambulances that carry some five million people to A&E each year, commercial vehicles keep the country running.  Over 96% are powered by diesel, and the latest low emission Euro VI models are delivering real world improvements in emissions in towns and cities across the UK.  

Overall, commercial vehicles transport some 1.9 billion tonnes of goods across the UK every year – including medicines, clothing and groceries.  Utility and delivery vans and trucks together move three times more goods than water and rail combined – contributing £27.5 billion to the UK economy.