The personalised number plate market in the United Kingdom continues grow with each passing year. In 2017, DVLA recorded 374,968 private reg sales which brought in excess of £110 million for the Treasury – a 12% increase compared to the previous year. Cumulatively, DVLA has sold 4.5 million private plates worth more than £2.3 billion since it began selling personalised plates in 1989. But what is driving the sales numbers, and why should it matter to you?
Change of Social Perception
When private registration was first introduced in the late 1980s, it was generally viewed as an exclusive domain of the super-rich. However, with rising middle class affluence, personalised plates have actually become affordable. Many Britons in the 40 and above age range now have the means to spend several hundred pounds to make a personal statement and enhance their social status.
For the younger demographic, private regs are not viewed as a symbol of upper class snobbery and excess. After all, an iPhone, personal computer and even a game console costs more than generic personalised plates. In a way, they also offer a relatively cheap way for young graduates and professionals to enhance their social standing, more so in the current social media culture, where everyone must absolutely and always share every aspect of their lives.
Hiding a vehicle’s age
Dateless plates, which are only sold at auctions, hide the age of vehicles. This is an important factor for owners who are content with their current vehicles and yet are concerned by social stigmatisation. Yes, just like in school, adults too talk about friends and family members who drive a ten year old car. With dateless plates, owners can simply get their car waxed to perfection and no one would know at a glance that their vehicle is older than Prince George.
A perfect gift
There is a growing trend of using private number plates as gifts, particularly from parents to graduating children, and employers and colleagues to promoted staff and co-workers. A few companies even include private plates as a fringe benefit in employment contracts. And why not? It’s relatively inexpensive, very personal, and will likely stay with the recipient for years.
That said, the cost can go sky high for very unique plates. In 2009, Lebanese businessman Nabil Bishara purchased ‘1D’ for his wife’s Bentley as a birthday gift, at a cost of £352,000! Say what you want about the price, but in terms of long-term value, a private number plate will give better returns compared to jewelleries!