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Post-lockdown business travel peaked in mid-August, says Allstar

Traffic on M1 Motorway

Business travel hit a post-lockdown peak in August with every sector of the UK economy enjoying its highest weekly increase at some point, according to new data from Allstar Business Solutions.

The analysis of its customer data found average fuel consumption peaked in the week beginning August 17 at 125% above the lockdown baseline.

However, fuel consumption for August overall dropped 4.4% compared to July, which Allstar attributes to the August bank holiday, although last year the fall was more significant at 9% for the same month.

Allstar’s latest Business Barometer Monthly Snapshot, which is tracking business mileage and credit card data as an economic indicator of recovery by sector, found the long-term trajectory also remains upwards, with businesses travelling 1.06 billion more miles in August than June.

Paul Holland, managing director of UK Fuel at Fleetcor, Allstar’s parent company, said: “Although at first glance seeing a drop in business fuel consumption in August may suggest a slowdown, this followed a sharp rise in June and July.

“The decrease in business travel can also be attributed to August traditionally being a quiet month thanks to the bank holiday weekend, as well as increased domestic and foreign holidays as some coronavirus regulations were eased.

“Early indicators seem to suggest a stronger start to September as children return to school.

“It’s encouraging to see all sectors witnessing their highest weekly growth spikes during the last month; highlighting a continued hunger for businesses to get back on the road as the recovery continues.

“While the number of people on holiday clearly had a downward impact towards the end of the month, it doesn’t appear this will have a long-lasting effect.”

The week commencing August 17 was, on average, the most active for businesses on the road since the start of lockdown.

Arts, entertainment and recreation witnessed a 407% increase in mileage – just days after government lockdown restrictions were eased for some leisure businesses.

Manufacturing (161%), construction (141%) and financial services (106%) also saw their most significant post-lockdown growth during that week.

In comparison, hospitality and catering saw its largest weekly growth (211%) during the week commencing August 24, potentially due to people becoming increasingly comfortable with returning to restaurants towards the end of the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme.

The same is true of wholesale and retail businesses (161%), while education saw its largest spike in business travel (258%) during the week commencing August 31, likely due to preparations for students returning to the classroom.

 

Week-on-week fuel consumption increases during August 2020

 

August peaks

% increase since w/c 6 April 2020

Sector

Aug-03

Aug-10

Aug-17

Aug-24

Aug-31

Agriculture, forestry and fishing

37%

43%

41%

40%

32%

Arts, entertainment and recreation

379%

380%

407%

398%

381%

Construction

137%

139%

141%

132%

111%

Education

166%

174%

204%

197%

258%

Financial services

97%

101%

106%

101%

89%

Health and social care

73%

82%

78%

78%

69%

Hospitality and catering

182%

192%

188%

211%

183%

Manufacturing

154%

160%

161%

159%

134%

Other

120%

123%

125%

122%

101%

Real estate

97%

107%

101%

93%

77%

Transportation and storage

52%

55%

55%

58%

35%

Utilities

53%

57%

58%

54%

33%

Wholesale and retail

150%

156%

156%

161%

137%

 

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