I appreciate that many dealers will almost intuitively have a feel for what sells and what customers want. That said, I love a bit of data to add to that gut instinct. With this in mind, I thought I'd share some stats and insights on LCVs that might prove helpful;

  • 57% of business vans were bought new
  • 35% of all vans are owned outright
  • 22% were acquired via HP
  • 82% of private van buyers, buy a used van
  • 16% of vans are purchased for private use only

All of this is from the Department of Transport's (DoT) most recent van usage statistics.*

When it comes to stocking LCVs, there are some other data considerations that may prove to be of interest or at least, reinforce insights.

Most privately owned LCVs are purchased by SMEs and sole traders who typically operate higher specification vans than their corporate fleet counterparts.

Despite cost sensitivity issues, LCVs acquired by SMEs, and sole traders tend to be at higher specification levels. Features such as air conditioning, alloy wheels, metallic paint and enhanced in-car entertainment are typical.

The reasons given by SMEs for this approach are that they want their vans to be as comfortable as possible given their role as a 'mobile office' and that their vans are often used for business and personal purposes.

Going an extra step, SME/sole trader buyers are also keen to have their vans personalised to their needs and as a mobile adverting platform. SMMT research highlights strong demand for bespoke conversions, fit-outs and professional livery. It isn't just a van or pick-up these buyers are seeking. Instead, many are looking for a vehicle that promotes their professionalism and expertise.

The insights on the likely demand for a high spec LCV/pick-up may not be new news, and I recognise that sourcing such stock is often challenging right now. However, perhaps the insight that I hope might provide you with a marketing/profit edge is the customisation angle.

SMEs tend to be 'time-poor'. When buying their next LCV/pick-up, could you help buy them time by providing a comprehensive 'tailored' service? Upscaling the vehicle spec, signwriting and fit out all spring to mind.

Richard Irving, Head of Field Sales

* August 2022