Recent research by Manheim Remarketing has uncovered a significant difference in the relative performances of vans sold online when compared with those sold in the auction hall.
The increases in average age and mileage over the 12 months since January 2011, has not seen corresponding reductions in average selling price.
Analysis of the figures shows that, while the value of vans sold in the auction halls fell by 3.3% (£136 to £3,923), those selling online saw their average values increase by 10.8% (£497 to £5,107).
Most significantly, when compared with January 2011, the average age of vans sold online in January 2012 increased by four months (to 54 months), while the age of vans sold in the auction halls increased by 12 months (to 62 months).
Over the same period average mileage of vans sold online increased by 3,360 miles (to 76,142) while that of vans sold in the auction halls increased by 8,410 (to 82,397).
The research also showed that in 2011 16% of all vans sold were sold online and that 51% of all vans offered attracted an online bid.
James Davis, director of Commercial Vehicles, Manheim Remarketing, said: “It is clear that there has been considerable used van inflation in the wholesale market during the last year.
“Overall vans are nearly a year older, with 8,000 more miles; yet average sale price has remained level. Manheim’s new analysis clearly shows the significant contribution made by online van buyers.
“We regularly see audiences of up to 200 physical and 150 online buyers at our auctions competing to secure vans from stock levels that will continue to decrease over the next 18 months.
“There is no doubt that vans attracting online bids are the more desirable and rarer vehicles through a combination of age, mileage, condition and specification.
“It is these vans that are being fought over most intensely by both physical and online buyers. In 2011 51% of all vans offered attracted an online bid; but they weren’t all the most desirable vans.
“It shows that dealers are having to diversify their stock profile, and are looking further afield to fill gaps on their sites often with product they would not have previously considered in terms of age and mileage.”