Coronavirus is driving a “white van man” boom as the pandemic boosts demand for home deliveries, fuelling a spike in the price of secondhand commercial vehicles used by couriers.
In September, the average selling price of used vans jumped by a fifth compared with the levels a year ago, according to new figures from Auto Trader.
That was the fifth month running that the price of secondhand vans has surged, with increases accelerating since the lockdown initially eased.
In May, there was an 8pc year-on-year rise, with prices then climbing in each of the following months, up by 14pc, 17pc, 19pc and 20pc in September to an average of £15,523.
Buyers are also racing to get their hands on the keys to vans as shoppers increasingly expect deliveries to their door, with average selling times down by a third on a year ago to just 27 days now, and the number of searches for vehicles up by half.
Ian Plummer, director at Auto Trader, said the pandemic meant the tighter market came as little surprise as “consumer behaviour adapts and the acceleration of appetite for online sales continues”.
He added: “Price and demand increases are likely to continue apace as we face several more months at least of home working and advice to minimise travel. With Black Friday, Christmas and the January sales just around the corner, commercial delivery businesses are strengthening their fleets to fulfil this increase in online sales.”
The squeeze is also being felt in the new van market. Latest data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show registrations of brand new vans in September surged by 26pc to 52,000.
However, in the year to date and covering the months when dealerships were closed and automotive factories stopped work, overall sales were 27pc lower at 208,000.
Mike Hawes, the trade body’s chief executive, added: “The sector has shown incredible resilience throughout the ongoing crisis and September’s numbers indicate some confidence is returning as operators seek flexibility and lower operating costs.”