As a result of the global growth the self-storage sector is experiencing, its expected value by 2026 stands at £4.10 billion in Europe alone. In 2019, the Self-Storage Association (SSA) reported that there are over 1500 self-storage facilities in the UK, for both domestic and business purposes. Although this number is smaller when compared to other countries such as the US or Australia, the UK still ranks highest in Europe with the number of facilities it has, followed by France and Spain which both have an estimated 450 self-storage facilities.
So why is the number of self-storage facilities so high in the UK and why is it expected to keep growing?
The reason is that the domestic need in the country is almost 10 times higher than in continental Europe, with common reasons for using self-storage including divorce and old age. It’s not surprising then that most customers making use of self-storage facilities are between the age of 40 and 70. Another reason is that the urban lifestyle is attracting an increasingly higher number people each year to move houses, and while the sector has seen steady growth recently, it still appears to be young as no major key players have fully established themselves within it. In the UK, there are larger brands that can be found around the country, as well as local self-storage brands recognised around their area and trusted by the local community, such as Cookes Storage Service.
Also, what role does the pandemic play in this industry?
Throughout the pandemic, people have been moving homes, causing these facilities to fill up. In addition, such facilities have also been taken over by new businesses, causing most warehouse spaces to be occupied last year.
With house prices increasing, tenants moving into new homes are spending more time at home and have made more use of self-storage facilities to de-clutter their homes and free up space where they live, keeping only what is necessary. A similar reason is that people seeking to sell their homes will need to temporarily store some of their belongings in a storage space while they look for a new home. De-cluttering appears to be one of the main reasons for picking a storage facility during the pandemic, which could be due to the higher quantity of time spent at home, or due to more home space having to be sacrificed for a work-from-home set-up.
Self-storage firms have reported an increasing demand as a consequence of the pandemic, and to meet these new consumer needs, flexible companies have expanded their sites around the UK, providing more space such as containers.
So, what’s going to happen?
It is predicted that the price for self-storage units will be skyrocketing in the near future. In addition to families and tenants making use of self-storage for de-cluttering related reasons, increasing the occupancy of such facilities, prices are also rising due to investors looking to invest in new assets during the pandemic.
However, with the uncertainties that come with Covid-19, for how long will this increase last? The pandemic has made one thing clear: things can be very volatile.
Over the last year, we have seen many businesses – such as high street shops – closing. On the other hand, brands such as Amazon and sectors related to real estate and workspace solutions seem to have profited from Covid. With a flexible remote-working approach being implemented as a long-term plan by employers, and with working from home suiting many employees, it seems like the pandemic has changed our office space in many ways and with reports predicting an increase in self-storage use, it is possible that this industry will only become more popular with time.
However, only time will tell.