The LCV market continues to bring positive demand and robust sales levels as the UK economy begins to move back to a sense of normality. With non-essential retail stores opening on April 12th along with the LCV Retailer showrooms there was a level of excitement that LCV sales would continue to grow whilst at the same time a little trepidation over what may happen to certain areas of market demand driven by the ever-growing online delivery market.
The chart below gives headline used LCV market performance data for April 2021 in comparison with March 2021 and the yellow trend lines at the bottom cover a 3-year period from March 2018 for reference and context: -
Data powered by Cazana
From a used LCV perspective, the news for April has not been as positive as many had hoped for or indeed expected. Following a series of exceedingly strong months of used sales performance, April recorded a drop in the number of LCVs sold as highlighted in the Sales data in the chart above. It is of interest to note that the volume of new retail Listings during the month has also dropped by -11.9% which suggests that the problem here is not demand but a lack of supply of used product to satisfy demand. This is likely to be a problem that will persist for the coming weeks.
From a retail pricing perspective, the Average Price of an LCV increased by +3.4% during the month and when looking at the Cazana Used LCV Retail Price Index this has translated into an increase of +5.4%. This normalised market data also shows that market wide there has been an increase in the Cazana Used LCV Retail Price Index of +21.3% since March 2018 and looking at the data in more detail this translates into a shift upwards of +43.5% since March 2019 and +47.6% since March 2020.
The overall market position must be put into context and not taken as a significant market decline or issue at this stage given that used LCV sales for March 2021 were so high.
The previous chart tracks the used LCV sales volumes from March 2018 through April 2021. The continuous upward trend is as clear as the devastating dip in sales during lockdown 1 in 2020. It also clarifies that March 2021 was the highest recorded month of used sales during the period from March 2018 to April 2021 coming in at just under +4% higher.
From a retail pricing perspective, the chart below tracks retail pricing performance since March 2019: -
Data powered by Cazana
This chart qualifies the amazing shift in the Average Retail Price of an LCV over the past 2 years. It was clear that the market was already on an upward trend before the first lockdown but the significant shift in the average retail price in the first quarter of 2021 is phenomenal rising from £13,170 to £15,863 which is a jump of +17%. It will be remarkably interesting to see how this tracks over the coming months.
Reviewing the new LCV registration data, the SMMT reported that LCV sales for April 2021 had increased by almost 799% which is no surprise given the fact that the country was in Lockdown in 2020 although the YTD figure records an uplift of 79.3% which is more relevant at present and shows the strength of demand.
The chart below shows the comparison for the month of April 2021 in relation to the previous 10 years.
Data from the SMMT
This chart qualifies that when comparing April 2019 as a normal year against April 2021 there has been an increase of just over +23% in registrations. This is excellent news of course although some of these sales will be due to an element of pent-up demand that has built up in recent months. In addition, the impact of the reopening of the showrooms must also be taken into consideration.
The best sellers for the month were almost an exact replication of the year-to-date listing, although it is interesting to note that the Ford Transit Connect fell out of the top 10 having been replaced by the Citroen Relay. This is perhaps due to supply constraints and perhaps an oversupply or tactical activity by Citroen whose Berlingo also jumped from 9th most registered LCV year to date to 7th during April.
In summary, the April market for used LCVs was a little disappointing although it is fairly evident that this is due to a shortage of used stock availability rather than a lack of demand. There is that little niggle that with non-essential retail stores open again there may be a drop off in demand for home delivery services and that would affect demand for certain types of LCVs, but it is too early to draw conclusions at this point. However, those businesses looking to maximise on the current market conditions and make the most of the profit and ROI opportunities should be embracing whole market, retail driven, real-time data that will highlight where demand is strongest day by day. Cazana is the only data provider able to supply that information.