UK light commercial vehicle (LCV) sales fell 4.6% year on year in October as 27,420 vans were registered, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.

This was the the second consecutive month of decline but the sector remained 2.3% up on the five-year pre-pandemic average for October.

Registrations of heavier vans, which weigh more than 2.5 tonnes and comprise the majority of the LCV market, fell by 8.9%. Pickups and vans weighing between 2.0-2.5 tonnes also declined by 16.9% and 16.6% respectively.

In contrast, sales of 4x4s, a small segment buoyed by new models, and vans under two tonnes doubled, with increases of 114.7% and 100.5% respectively.

Year to date, LCV sales have increased 24.4% to 294,656 units, compared to 2020 when Covid related issues were more widely felt.

But despite the sector seeing a rebound in registrations in 2021, the market remained 5.2% short of the pre-pandemic five-year average, due mainly to the global shortage of semiconductors.

SMMT has conseqently reduced its full year forecast for the LCV market by 20,000 to 340,000 units.

While higher than 2020 this would be a net decline against 2019 sales with the market not expected to recover back above that level until 2023.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “While it’s disappointing to see the number of new vans registered during October decline, demand has remained strong over the course of the year.”