At the beginning of July, we wrote an article detailing some good news for the health of the trucking industry: new truck orders in June broke expectations. Following up, in comparison, new trailer sales completely shattered all expectations for that month.
According to Americas Commercial Transportation Research Company (ACT), U.S. trailer orders for May 2020 were about 3,100. For June, the number more than tripled to over 13,400 trailers sold.
That might not seem too interesting because of the coronavirus pandemic slowing down the economy, but consider this: compared to June 2019, June 2020’s new trailer sales are about 112% higher. Even if COVID-19 reduced orders, it was not enough to slow down sales growth.
This news might sound familiar. It should: the results are very similar to tractor sales for the same period. Both equipment types had new sales lag during the first months of the year due to the pandemic, but June not only bucked the trend of reduced sales for the pandemic, but also exceeded the same month’s sales for last year, back in those golden days when people could go to movie theaters without fear.
The news is a silver lining to the previous months of reduced trailer sales. May 2020’s sales were 79% lower than May 2019’s, and April, according to ACT’s data graph, had aggregate sales numbers at a shocking 250.
“The improved sequential comparisons do indicate some fleets, after assessing current market conditions, are beginning to cautiously commit to capital expenditures,” said Frank Maly, director of commercial vehicle transportation analysis and research at ACT Research.
The data from ACT is evidence that the economy is healing from the shutdowns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with increasing employment in the industry, rates rising past their pre-pandemic levels (and showing no signs of slowing down), and the Outbound Truck Volume Index sits at a healthy 12,909 at the time of writing this article. With pent-up demand for non-essential goods building up over the past months, the United States appears to be heading towards an economic boom.