Exclusive survey shows COVID-19 puts your job at risk
How hard will COVID-19 hit the fleet and mobility industry? Our survey confirms: pretty hard. More surprisingly: fleet managers and fleet suppliers have significantly different expectations of the pandemic’s economic impact.
Over the past two weeks, Fleet Europe www.fleeteurope.com and Global Fleet www.globalfleet.com asked nearly 400 fleet professionals from 34 countries (mainly Europe, but also the Americas, Africa and Asia/Pacific), representing a dozen leading industries (including pharma, IT, engineering and manufacturing, FMCG and automotive). Here are some key findings.
The coronavirus has profoundly shaken the world economy. It’s no surprise the fleet and mobility industry feels the heat: 90% of those surveyed said the crisis would have a strong impact on business.
But not everyone feels the impact to the same degree:
- 71% of fleet suppliers fear their job may be at risk.
- But only 54% of fleet buyers are equally worried about job security, post crisis.
The various restrictions imposed by lockdowns and quarantines have had a major impact on time spent on the job. With some differences:
- 42% of suppliers spent less time, only 21% spent more time at work.
- Only 28% of buyers had reduced their time on the job, with 22% spending more time.
Will the crisis compel fleets to postpone tenders? Here, suppliers and buyers have strongly differing ideas.
- A clear majority of buyers thinks tenders will be postponed, all across the board: for leasing (63%), manufacturers (67%), mobility solutions (58%) and for telematics and connectivity (63%).
- An even greater majority of suppliers (75%-86%) thinks those tenders will not go ahead unhindered.
What will COVID-19 do to existing business strategies like electrification? Opinions vary:
- 66% of suppliers predict that electrification will take a back seat, and that pragmatism will dictate a revival of petrol and diesel vehicles.
- However, a clear majority of fleet buyers says the crisis will not affect their electrification strategy.
- In fact, 10% of buyers thinks the crisis will compel them to speed up electrification!
When it comes to fleet sizes, there’s an even stronger distinction between the views of both parties.
- No less than 70% of fleet suppliers believe their clients will adopt a strategy of fleet size reduction.
- Yet only 30% of fleet buyers say they think their fleets will have to shrink because of the crisis.
Travel restrictions are virtually universal at the moment: 98% of the companies surveyed said they had a travel ban in place, at least until the end of April.
- Live meetings represent no more than 10% of the interactions between buyers and suppliers.
- Meetings have gone virtual, with around 70%-80% taking the format of a video call, with old-fashioned phone calls about as popular.
- Email is used in 60%-70% of the cases. Only 2%-3% of meetings are canceled, for the time being.
What customers want
Crises are opportunities – that’s something everyone can agree on. But to what extent?
- While 65% of fleet buyers think the crisis will generate cost-saving opportunities, only 50% of fleet suppliers agree.
- And while 80% of fleet buyers plan to extend their lease contracts because of the crisis, only 70% of fleet suppliers would advise them to do so.
As these and other results in our survey show, there are significant gaps between the post-COVID-19 projections of corporate fleet managers and their suppliers.
This creates the risk of greater friction between both parties – and increases the need for better communication between them. Nothing illustrates that point better than both parties attitudes towards the communication between them:
- On the on hand, more than 75% of fleet and mobility buyers would like their suppliers to provide them with more advice and tailored communication during (and after) the crisis;
- But on the other, more than 50% of suppliers have responded to the economic challenges posed by COVID-19 by introducing a marketing and communications stop.