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Ice Cream Van revival as lockdown ends

The team at insurance comparison site CompareNI.com surveyed over 2,000 UK-based residents after noting a 158% rise in traffic to its ice cream van insurance system during lockdown.

  • Market research conducted for a leading insurance comparison website has explored whether an ice cream van revival might be on the cards as lockdown ends, following a 158% rise in traffic to the comparison site’s ice cream van insurance system during lockdown
  • The survey of over 2,000 people revealed that 76% people are yet to see an ice cream van in their neighbourhood this year, compared to 65% who said they used to frequent ‘at least once a week’ during the summer of 2019
  • However, 83% of people said they would now be more likely to buy from ice cream vans if they visited their street again

The research revealed that just 24% of people had seen an ice cream van visit their street or neighbourhood at any time this year, despite the recent heatwave.  But are we about to witness a surge in ice cream vans as we head into the summer holidays – July is typically Northern Ireland’s hottest month with the highest average temperature of 16 degrees.

Ice Cream Van Revival

 ice cream van

Northern Ireland was number four on the list of regions most likely to have seen ice cream vans continuing to visit during lockdown – the most active ice cream van regions are illustrated in the infographic:

  • South East – 13%
  • Scotland – 12%
  • North West – 12%
  • Northern Ireland – 10%
  • East of England – 10%
  • Wales – 9%
  • South West – 8%
  • West Midlands – 6%
  • East Midlands – 6%
  • Yorkshire and Humberside – 5%
  • London – 5%
  • North East – 4%

We spoke to owner of Belfast ice cream van company, Casper’s Ices, who revealed:  “Business is really starting to rally now but over the last few months, although I visited my usual routes and hot spots, a lot of people were in isolation and nervous about coming out of their houses.  Now that lockdown measures are starting to relax people seem grateful to see me as it avoids the risk of going into a busy shop.  I’ve introduced additional safety and cleaning methods plus signage which reminds people to stay distanced while waiting their turn – which everyone is respecting.  Plus I find it gives people the opportunity to actually see their neighbours and have a chat which they’ve been missing, all we need now is some prolonged summer sunshine.”

Although the lockdown may have temporarily taken many ice cream vans off the road, the 158% jump in traffic CompareNI.com saw to its ice cream van insurance system suggests a growing number of people might be planning to start up their own ice cream van businesses. It’s also worth noting that this wasn’t a seasonal trend – for instance, the spike the comparison site saw in May 2020 was 291% higher than the highest monthly figure it recorded last summer.

If the UK is about to witness an ice cream van revival as the lockdown ends there could be a very welcoming customer base waiting for them to arrive, with 83% of survey respondents saying they would now be more likely to buy from ice cream vans if they began visiting their street.

Referring to the company’s research, Lee Evans, an insurance comparison expert at CompareNI.com, said: “Ice cream vans had gone out of fashion in many parts of the country in recent years, but as the lockdown progressed we witnessed a similar trend on our ice cream van insurance system as we saw with our courier insurance comparison – a very pronounced, very sudden rise in traffic.

“Whether its lockdown-induced nostalgia, the fact that ice cream vans deliver, or the fact that they offer greater potential for social distancing than ice cream parlours or corner shops, it really does appear the ice cream van might be about to enjoy a resurgence in popularity.

“It’s also worth mentioning that ice cream vans aren’t limited to delivering ice cream – some of those that continued to operate during the lockdown were delivering loo roll, nappies, bread and other staples to customers who were self-isolating, and it seems likely many of them will continue to offer a more varied range of products after the lockdown ends.”

The comparison site covers a wide range of insurance products, not just ice cream vans.  From the usual car, home, travel and pet insurance to the more niche products such as courier and learner driver insurance.  CompareNI.com has over 400 insurance brands across 60 different products, allowing customers to make an informed choice about the policy that suits them, at a competitive price.