UK new light commercial vehicle (LCV) registrations rose 8.8% year on year in November to 28,541 units, the third consecutive monthly increase, according to data from The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
"Despite prolonged uncertainty and varying lockdown restrictions across the country, the sector responded to growing demand as businesses scaled up online delivery operations," the trade group said.
This contrasted with the 27.4% drop in new car sales last month.
Registrations of small vans weighing less than or equal to 2.0 tonnes and medium vans weighing more than 2.0-2.5 tonnes rose by 13.7% and 13.6% respectively. Demand for larger vans weighing more than 2.5-3.5 tonnes saw the largest growth, up 25.2%, while 4x4s and pickups saw a decrease in registrations, down -0.7% and -56.2% respectively.
Meanwhile, demand for battery electric and plug-in hybrid LCVs continued to grow, up 79.7% compared with November last year. Though still a small portion of the overall van market, where key considerations remain payload and range, alternatively fuelled vans have doubled their share of the market to 1.9% of all LCV registrations in the year to date.
Although an increase in ecommerce is helping van demand grow, performance in the year to date was still behind last year's relatively weak numbers, down 21.5% or almost 73,000 units short on LCV registrations in the first 11 months of 2019.