The UK's light commercial vehicle market grew 2.4% year-on-year in May, with 27,639 new vans being registered, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Demand for mid-size and larger vans grew by 21.5% and 2.0% respectively, helping to offset a 21.0% decline in smaller vehicles weighing less than 2.0-tonnes.
Registrations of pick-ups also fell, with 3,826 registered in the month, down -2.6%.
Despite the growth in May, the 2018 year-to-date performance is down 1.4% on the same period last year. However, with 145,514 vans and pick-ups registered so far in the year, demand remains a third (34.8%) higher than five years ago.
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, said: “It’s reassuring to see a bit of stability in the van market.
"Variations in buying cycles are a natural feature and, despite the year-to-date decline, it’s important to remember that demand remains at an historically high level.
"Barring any unforeseen shocks, we expect the rest of the year to follow a similar pattern, in line with forecasts.
"To drive long-term growth, however, we need the right economic conditions to give businesses the confidence to invest in their fleets.”
Russell Adams, commercial vehicle manager at Lex Autolease, added: “Another month where van registrations have gone up is a testament to the overall stability that continues in the LCV market.
"Admittedly we’re not, and realistically don’t expect to hit the peaks of 2016, but this month’s registrations are another good indicator of a mostly healthy van market."