Online sales values of ex-fleet stock beat physical auctions by an average of 1% or £220 per vehicle in 2016, according to new figures compiled by Epyx.
The statistics are taken from tens of thousands of vehicles sold through the company’s 1link Disposal Network e-commerce platform, which is used to manage online and offline sales.
David Goodyear, commercial director at Epyx, said: “Because we see very similar stock sold through both our online channels and also through traditional auctions, we are in a very good position to make direct comparisons about how they are performing.
“Our overall figures last year were 97.5% of the trade guides for online and 96.5% for offline.
"This may sound like quite a small difference but it adds up to around £220 per car, which is a significant amount when taken across a whole fleet.”
Goodyear said much of the difference in values attained was because online provided a more effective way of reaching buyers who would be interested in the cars and vans being sold.
He added: “We are able to create communities of buyers such as franchise dealers and first tier independents for different vehicles and target them very specifically. This helps to maximise values.
“Over the past year, we have even become much more proficient at learning about the condition expectations of each dealer and, with the rise in popularity of ready-to-retail stock, have introduced new procedures for reconditioning to the required standard.
“The same degree of control is simply not possible through physical auction channels, although we see them very much as an essential part of the overall disposal mix.”
Goodyear added that, with increasing pressure on values likely to develop in 2017, he expected the divergence between auction and online channels to probably continue to increase.
He said: “Volumes of used vehicles in the market will rise this year and the poorest quality cars and vans will increasingly struggle.
"Vendors who are carefully targeting their stock at the right buyers and ensuring it is in the right condition will achieve the best results.”