Demand for new vans increased by 3.3% last month, compared with March 2015, the latest Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders figures have revealed.

According to the SMMT, 63,913 vans were registered during the month – two thirds of the 98,906 units that were shifted during the first quarter of 2016.

The SMMT said there was a 14.2% rise in the number of 2.5-3.5t vans registered compared with March 2015, while demand for pick-ups increased by 5.3%.

“Traditionally one of the busiest months of the year for the British van market, March’s 16 plate gave a welcome boost, closing the first quarter on a positive note after a more subdued start to the year,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive.

“Following the sector’s record performance set in 2015, we expect to see steadier growth over the coming months.”