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November 2020: Trailer Sales Lower, but Are Still High

In the last trailer sales article, we left with this prediction:

“…we believe that the pent-up demand for goods, combined with the holiday season, will lead to equal or greater trailer sales in November.”

It appears we were wrong this time. October sales had an average estimate of 55,350. For the month of November 2020, Freight Transportation Research (FTR) pins the estimate at 41,400.

What it Means

While the sales are down 26% from October, they are more than double what they were a year prior in November 2019. The sales numbers are also above the moving twelve-month average for trailer sales, which is approximately 22,500.

FTR’s vice president of commercial vehicles Don Ake cites the high freight rates in all three primary forms of trailers as the reason for very good sales numbers.

“More trailers are needed to handle the fast, multiple moves of consumer goods ordered through e-commerce.” Ake said in a report. Considering how this Cyber Monday was the largest on record at $10 billion in sales for a single day, it is likely his words ring true.

Ake also expressed optimism for flatbed sales; while trailers as a whole had a decrease from the month prior, flatbed sales were at their highest since the start of 2019.

“It’s encouraging to see flatbed orders finally showing some life,” Ake said. “This bodes well for the manufacturing and industrial sectors going into 2021.

Conclusion

Indicators in the trucking industry constantly point towards 2021 being a bright future, not just for the American trucking industry, but for the American economy as a whole.

At the same time, most if not all of the business holiday planning will have been finished by the start of December, so we predict trailer sales to be lower in the final month of the year than they were in November.

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