Originally, white vans were chosen to transport food from location to location because they were the most efficient at keeping the produce cool before fridges were available in vans. However, now, more companies are choosing different colour vans, or having their vehicle wrapped to advertise their business and ensure they stand out on the road against competitors.

The white van man

The origins of the white van

Previously, the white van man has been a stereotype – but where did this stereotype come from? Used to refer to the driver of a small commercial van, the first recorded use of the stereotype in the press was in 1997, by The Sunday Times in an article titled ‘Number is up for the White Van Man’. Closer to present day, the term was used in road safety campaigns ran by Freight Transport Association in 2010.

White vans were originally chosen because of their ability to reflect high levels of sunlight and keep the contents cool. White, silver, and other light colours are coolest, reflecting about 60% of sunlight.

New studies reveal that the stereotype to collectively group all used van drivers, now refers to diligent and hard-working drivers with average yearly earnings of £21,000. Dispelling the clichés, they therefore contribute over £35 billion annually to the UK economy and have an estimated turnover of £215 billion per year.

The most popular coloured van

As of 2014, white vans were still classed as the most popular coloured vans – with figures revealing 57% of new vans registered were white coloured. However, some industry professionals believed this could have been down to cost rather than anything else. White light goods vehicle still seemed to dominate the roads, however, 2014 also experienced an influx in sales for silver vans – 8% in the past decade.

Most likely chosen for their similar properties, silver vans take second place for popular van colouring, with blue in third and red in fourth. Whilst white still reigns supreme in the world of vans, an increase in other colours shows that fleet managers are willing to step out their comfort zone and inject some colour into the fleet. However, for vehicle wrapping and customisation, white vans provide fleet managers with a blank canvas to market their business – another reason why white vans could have stuck at the top spot.

The rise is vehicle wrapping

A reason why white vans are still the most popular coloured commercial van could be attributed to the fact it gives businesses a blank canvas to customise their fleet. Many businesses have acknowledged that customising their fleet is an opportunity to market their business to a wider audience – to the other drivers on the roads. The audience potential is significantly large. Arbitron’s In-Car Study claims UK drivers can spend an average of 20 hours on the roads every week (a 31% increase from the 2003) which equates to 1,040 hours a year, or a month and a half, for every driver. The Department of Transport revealed there were 35.6 million registered vehicles on the road in the UK. That is a lot of potential customers!

Experts reveal that more than 70% of motorists are influenced positively by the products and companies that they see advertised on other vehicles. And if that figure isn’t enough to convince you, 98% of people on the roads said they noticed truck ads, with 35% of them actually study these advertisements closely, and onaverage, a busy vehicle can be seen by more than 3,000 people every hour, meaning just one car wrap could generate between 30,000 and 70,000 views per day! Vehicle wrapping is a cost-effective way to advertise your business that can generate significant results fast.

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