UK small and medium sized food businesses are feeling the pressure for customer deliveries in the lead up to Christmas, according to new research released by Vimcar.
Over half of those surveyed have experienced an increased demand for food deliveries in the lead up to Christmas compared with the last two years.
This pre-Christmas rush is putting clear pressure on deliveries and demand on fleets, with almost 90% of those surveyed offering a delivery service for their customers. A need that has been galvanised by a change in customers’ purchasing habits since the start of the pandemic, with many now expecting delivery options to be available as standard, rather than as an additional option.
OVER HALF OF FOOD DELIVERY BUSINESSES ARE EXPERIENCING A HIGHER DEMAND FOR DELIVERIES THIS CHRISTMAS, COMPARED TO THE LAST TWO YEARS
Undertaken by Vimcar, the fleet management software for SMEs, the survey comes at a time when food retailers are needing to increase their fleet size (93%) to keep up with demand, but are grappling with the impact of delivery driver shortages. Furthermore, almost all (96%) food businesses currently running fleets to fulfil delivery needs, expect their costs to increase between now and Christmas.
Despite the increased pressure and challenges facing SME food retailers, the majority of respondents (78%) are feeling optimistic about business performance for the Christmas period 2021, as a result of the increase in demand and the lifting of COVID restrictions in comparison to 2020.
Sami Eric, UK Country Manager at Vimcar said: “It is really uplifting to see that small and medium sized food retailers are thriving in the run up to Christmas, especially after a very challenging couple of years. With these higher demands comes higher expectations for businesses to meet. This research shows the challenges that the food industry is facing during the busiest time of the year, and the need for customers to be understanding of the changing landscape to which businesses are adapting to.”
Eric added: “As pressure mounts, efficient fleet management will be crucial in helping SMEs to offset rising fleet costs as well as maximise the investment they have made into new delivery services. Poorly managed fleets and drivers can quickly drain a business’ costs and resources, so implementing a fleet management tool is vital to simplify time spent on fleet admin and maintenance.”