While car showrooms and non-essential shops remained shut through November in England due the pandemic, van registrations up to 3.5 tonnes bucked the trend with a strong 8.8% increase in registrations.

The light van market grew by 8.8% in November, year-to-date the market remains down -21.5% from 2019’s levels.

All van and light commercial segments showed improvement in November except pick-ups and 4x4s. These are primarily purchased by private individuals and self-employed as they are both work and lifestyle vehicles, hence often ordered in showrooms, which were closed throughout the month.

The majority of van and light commercial sales are business-to-business and often ordered by fleets. As a result, many of the November registrations were likely ordered in previous months. As many of these vehicles are ordered by fleets and businesses, deliveries are arranged off-site and therefore not affected by the COVID-19 restrictions.

The largest increase came from the maximum capacity 2.5-3.5t commercials bought by the fleet sector and often used for the deliveries of online sales. This large van sector represents 64% of all LCVs registered this year. In November, 20,769 vehicles went on the road showing a 25.2% increase, a massive step-up from November 2019 when 16,588 units were registered.

The other two van sectors under 2.0t and over 2.0-2.5t both showed healthy increases by 13.7% and 13.6% respectively, as opposed to the decline in pick-up and 4x4 registrations, down -56.2% and -0.7% respectively.

The Ford Transit Custom held onto its lead with the biggest market share with 4,156 registrations in the month, Mercedes was second, with 2,747 new Sprinters registered in November.

As door-to-door online deliveries continue to support van registrations, it is positive to see the sustained growth in the light commercial market in recent months, which is partly offsetting the impact that the pandemic had on the sector earlier in the year.