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Internet shopping spurs record van sales in UK as clicks replace bricks

Published: 13 April 2015

► 108,456 vans and lorries registered in Q1
► Courier deliveries spur huge growth
► Highest sales since records began

The popularity of online shopping has contributed to a jump in van sales - as couriers stock up on delivery vehicles to transfer goods bought by clicks to bricks.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which measures sales, reported a 22% rise in UK van sales in the first quarter of 2015.

In total, 108,456 vans and lorries were registered in Britain in the first three months - the highest number since records began in 1987.

The home-buying boom

It’s a happy byproduct of a fast-changing economy. E-commerce is expected to account for £1 in every £4 spent by Brits in 2015 and online sales totalled £103 billion in 2014, according to analysts. And all those goods need to be delivered to the end user (usually with wonkily illegible signature required on handheld device).

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief, said: ‘Commercial vehicles are crucial to the functioning of Britain’s economy and these latest figures paint a very encouraging picture. As business confidence grows, demand for the latest vans and trucks is now back to pre-recession levels – outpacing the rest of Europe.’

White van man: the boom

There are now 4.4 million vans and trucks on our roads, according to the SMMT - delivering 81% of all goods and racking up 61bn miles a year in the UK alone.

Ford is the leading retailer of vans in the UK, accounting for more than one in five vehicles sold. The best-seller? The mid-sized Transit Custom, notching up 12,627 in the quarter. 

Click here to see which cars have sold the most in March 2015, as a new record was set.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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