The History Of Self Storage And The Future Of The Market
Updated: Oct 18, 2022
From businesses to individuals, everybody can benefit from self storage at some point. Businesses often use these places to store commercial items, whereas individuals benefit from self storage for personal items when moving house, for example.
But what’s the history of this innovative industry, and what does the market look like? Let’s find out.
A Brief History Of Self Storage
Self storage actually began in its first form back in 1850s America, when Martin Bekin created buildings to meet the storage needs of immigrants to the US.
With minimal space in their home, storage was a necessity, and Martin provided the all-important storage space. Flash forward to 1950s America when the first storage units as we know them today were created.
The idea became so popular that self storage sites spread around the US throughout the 1960s before coming to the UK in the 1980s. At this point, we began to see more businesses using self storage to store commercial products, such as documents, surplus stock, and unused office equipment.
Using storage spaces not only kept their items safe and secure, but also left more space in office buildings and warehouses that could be put to better use. The trend for using self storage units continued and became a global phenomenon in the 1990s, even leading to a shortage of storage units which meant more had to be built to meet demand.
Today, there are more than 2000 self storage facilities situated across the UK, and they’re only increasing in popularity.
In fact, average occupancy has risen to a record high of 83.3%. So what does this mean for the UK self storage market? Let’s take a look.
Rennie Schafer - CEO of SSA UK
“Self storage has grown at a rapid but steady pace in the UK doubling in size since 2010 to over 54 million sq feet of storage space. Unlike the USA where there have been periods of rapid growth and oversupply, limited access to suitable property for development has meant generally demand for the product has grown with or faster than supply. Hence while increasing the amount of space available the industry has also been able to increase occupancy rates and net rental rates.”
The Future Of Self Storage
Self storage was one of the only industries to not only survive the COVID-19 pandemic, but come out stronger on the other side. In fact, during 2020, 100 new stores opened despite the widespread effects of coronavirus.
The self storage market UK is set to continue this upwards trajectory for various reasons. For starters, more and more companies are going at least partially remote, meaning there’s less of a need to have all their equipment on-site at any given time.
Remote workers and self-employed people themselves may have work equipment lying around the house and taking up space that they’d benefit from putting in a self storage unit.
There are also more and more eCommerce stores cropping up online, and for online sellers who don’t have a company HQ or warehouse with space to store their products, a self storage unit is the most convenient option.
Plus, an increasing number of people move around than in previous generations, so there’s a greater need for individuals and families to store personal belongings in self storage units while they transfer from one property to another.
Estimates put growth at approximately 6000 new stores and a whopping £1.3 billion turnover by 2025, making self storage one of the fastest growing UK industries. Self storage is a lucrative prospect for any budding business owner, thanks to the low operating cost. Unlike an office building or apartment complex, self storage units require little maintenance, so you won’t need to put aside a huge budget for staffing costs either. The best part? Self storage units can diversify income by offering extra resources and services, such as selling locks, insurance, packing tape, cardboard boxes, and other packing materials.
Plus, since rent is usually offered month-to-month, facility owners can raise rent more easily and quickly than properties that offer long-term leases, allowing business owners to increase prices in line with inflation.
With all of that in mind, it’s clear that there’s never been a better time to invest in the self storage market.
Rennie Schafer - CEO of SSA UK
“Self storage has a broad customer base which is one reason it is less impacted by economic and political change. Around ¼ of customers are commercial, often small or online businesses. People initially tend to use self storage for life changing moments, like entering a new relationship, death in the family, moving house, travel, separation and the like. The industry is designed to have a steady churn of customers, some staying only a few months and others staying years. As a result there is never a major drop in occupancy that can occur in other industries, with no major tenants that could move out or big seasonal fluctuations in occupancy.”
How To Make The Most Of The Self Storage Boom
Self storage is an up-and-coming industry that’s well worth the investment, but if you’re not sure how to market your new or existing self storage business, we’ve got you covered.
Here at Amax Marketing, we have the tools to make your self storage business a success. We can build and design your website, fill it to the brim with killer content, increase traffic using SEO, and create a social media strategy to attract potential customers.
We’re self storage specialists who know your industry inside out, including what it takes to get your business seen by those who need your services.
Ready to watch your business take off? Contact us today to find out more about our services.