New LCV registrations in the UK were down by 26.9% year-on-year in January, according to stats from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The organisation said 17,566 new LCVs were registered last month, compared with 24,029 in January 2021.

Although last month’s figure was the lowest for January since 2013, the SMMT said that the January 2021 figure had been particularly strong – the highest for the month for 31 years.

Year-on-year declines were seen in most sectors of the market, with the leading 2.5-3.5t van sector down by 29.8% to 11,584, 2.0-2.5t vans down by 17.1% to 3,033, vans weighing less than 2.0t down by 53.9% to 567, and pick-ups down by 17.4% to 2,106.

Only the niche 4×4 sector saw an increase, up by 196.8% to 276.

The SMMT also reported a 21.4% increase in pure electric van registrations, though these still only accounted for 3.7% of the overall market.

The organisation is forecasting a 2% increase for the overall market in 2022, which would mean 362,620 registrations, only 3.5% behind the record number seen in 2016. It then predicts a new record for registrations in 2023.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “Despite the slow start, the van market is expected to post another strong year. While chip shortages, rising inflation and increased energy costs will have an impact, growth is still anticipated given the inexorable rise of home deliveries and broader economic recovery. 

“With more battery powered vans coming to market, the demand for these new technologies seen in January is likely to continue across the year. 

“With uptake rates still lagging the new car market, which has the same end of sale date, the importance of bringing every lever – purchase incentives, fiscal measures and recharging infrastructure investment – to bear on this critical sector is self-evident.”