According to ACT Research’s recently released Transportation Digest, the six key themes that shaped the North American commercial vehicle markets in 2021 will continue to do so in 2022, and likely beyond.
The report, which combines proprietary ACT data and analysis from a wide variety of sources, paints a comprehensive picture of trends impacting transportation and commercial vehicle markets. ACT says its monthly report is designed as a quick look at transportation insights for use by fleet and trucking executives, reviewing top-level considerations such as for-hire indices, freight, heavy- and medium-duty segments, the U.S. trailer market, used truck sales information, and an overview of the U.S. macro economy.
“The factors impacting the market start and end with COVID and its emerging variants,” says Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “Supply, not demand, will continue to dictate unit volumes for vehicles in the short-term, even as capital goods investment is seeing an upside breakout, generating higher freight volumes.”
Vieth adds that as has been the case through the pandemic, ACT still continues to see consumers spending on goods at the expense of services, helping to support freight markets, though we do expect consumer spending to start the process of reverting to traditional patterns post Omicron.
He says, "Inflation is expected to remain elevated, but positively we are seeing second derivative improvements in the monthly data. Finally, the chip shortage, while an ongoing and major problem, is expected to improve through 2022 as new silicon capacity comes online.”
As for market fundamentals, Vieth says top line on the ACT Research Tractor Dashboard in November stayed level with the October reading, in strong double-digit territory at +11. "Of the 15 variables in the dashboard, 11 were positive, with four neutral, and no negatives. The take-away message is that market fundamentals continue to be historically strong, and are likely to stay that way deep into 2022," he says.