- The UK’s £13bn[i] leasing industry is coming back – especially in office equipment – as people return to their places of work
- Companies are leasing larger items compared with end of 2020
- Although economic disruption from the Ukraine conflict is yet to play out in leasing
London X March 2022 – The latest Acquis Index, an economic indicator of how much equipment UK companies lease – and how long for – says that UK companies are leasing diggers, laptops and other essential items at volumes that compare fairly well with the end of 2019.
A key measure of this is the proportion of new contracts signed by UK companies to rent essential items. The previous year, 2020, saw a profound dip as the pandemic gripped the UK economy – but 2021 data held up reasonably well, with a comparable trend line to 2019, even if total volumes were at a slightly depressed 24% lower.
Compared to leasing by companies in the EU, the Index shows UK companies lagging at the start of 2021 before recovering in the run up to the Christmas quiet period.
Looking at the data a different way – by comparing the fourth quarter of 2021 to the first – there was remarkable consistency in the nature of these leasing agreements, when:
- The average lease term remained stable at 51 months.
- The average value of equipment nudged upwards from £13,197 to €13,467.
Leasing is the bedrock of multiple economic sectors – from construction to healthcare – and while many parts of the economy have been in the spotlight over the last year, the index takes a deeper look at three: restaurant and retail, companies that lease computer equipment and those leasing office equipment.
Here the Aquis Index shows three notable trends that mirror other economic indicators:
- Restaurant and retail: levelling off, following a solid recovery through 2021, and slowly catching up on pre-Covid levels over the long run
- Computer equipment: falling off quarter by quarter – but which masks a rise in the use of laptops by companies as their working from home practices reached maturity
- Office equipment: steady quarter-on-quarter growth through 2021 and now at parity with 2020, though not yet 2019. This includes printers, photocopies and furniture and reflects the broader return to work trend.
James Rudolf, Chief Commercial Officer, Acquis, says: “The big data sets covering corporate equipment leasing are a valuable economic indicator. They tell us the full health outlook for the leasing industry is cautiously positive – mindful it ended the year 24% down on the period just before the pandemic.
“In particular we saw a spike in laptop rentals during the year and latterly, more static office equipment – from printers to meeting room chairs –in considerable numbers across multiple sectors.
“Clearly there will be some economic disruption from the horrific conflict in Ukraine. This will likely have a significant impact on business confidence, and therefore the index data in the coming quarter, but for now UK plc is getting back on its feet.”