Business travel continued to increase last month but at a slower rate than in June, according to new data from Allstar Business Solutions.
The analysis of its customer data found 1.56 billion extra miles were travelled by organisations across the UK in July – a 14.4% month-on-month increase, which softened from 30.2% the previous month.
Earlier this week, the Department for Transport said the volume of cars, vans and trucks now being seen on the country's roads is on a par with what would be expected at this time of year.
Allstar’s latest Business Barometer Monthly Snapshot, which tracks business mileage and credit card data as an economic indicator of sector recovery, found arts, entertainment and recreation saw the biggest increase in fuel use (40.9%), followed by hospitality and catering (34.3%).
Paul Holland, MD of UK Fuel at Fleetcor, Allstar’s parent company, said: “The Bank of England predicted that the economic shock triggered by the pandemic was less than initially feared but the bounce-back may take longer and this fuel consumption data appears to illustrate this.
“The sectors impacted hardest by lockdown are showing signs of reactivation, albeit with growth continuing at a steadier rate than when restrictions first began lifting.
“It’s not surprising that the upward trajectory has been affected by the start of the school summer holidays; this is a trend we see from our business customers each year.
And whilst it is possible that further slowing of the recovery will continue throughout August as workers take holidays delayed from earlier in the year, we are in unchartered territory and the traditional seasonal downturn may be offset by the return of furloughed employees.”
The analysis is based on the data from Allstar’s customers and extrapolated to the full UK business population based on the company’s estimated commercial fuel market share.”
Allstar’s data on business credit card usage found spending in July reached 82% of its Q1 average.
Shifts were also seen in the way Allstar Expense cards are used; in late July, in person card transactions overtook e-commerce transactions for the first time since lockdown began.
By week commencing July 27, in-person card transactions represented 52% of all transactions (compared to 48% via e-commerce), a flip on the ratio of 33/67 seen in March.
There was also a 104% increase on spend in restaurants in July, compared to June, and 42% increase on spend in hotels.