How much will self storage grow in 2020?


The Self Storage Association UK Annual Industry Report 2019 now available

The Self Storage Association compiled a very interesting read for self storage operators in the UK in their annual report. They have crunched the numbers and looked at the growth potential of self storage in the United Kingdom, by collecting industry data and analysing the trends.

Some of the factors that contribute to the overall growth prediction in this self storage industry analysis:

  • New housing is in under-supply – thus leaving people with a need to store till their homes are built.
  • Population growth is exponential.
  • Brexit and the “on hold” effect.
  • Urban migration is placing a lot of pressure on the existing housing stock, inflating cost.
  • Interest rates on the rise and predicted to rise further in 2020, inflating housing cost.

When we take into consideration that the average English house is generally small by international standards, the real pressure on space in UK homes becomes clear. People will need to use self storage at some point in their housing journey, and the market continues to grow.

Despite the broader economic issues around Brexit, trade wars, the waning of high street retail and all the other doom and gloom often reported in the media, the self storage industry continues to perform well.

Occupancy levels across the industry have continued to increase in the last year based on the amount of space currently available to customers (CLA), with an increase of 1.4% on last year’s results.

The industry is going through a period of expansion with around 1.7M square feet of space being added during the year. While in most cases this maximum lettable space will be fitted out eventually, it may take several years from when the store opens, depending on its size and marketing budget.

Marketing trends according to the SSA UK report 2019

As to be expected, over the last six years online enquiries have grown significantly, although over the last two years this growth has panned out a little to around the 70% mark. What is harder to determine on the received data is what has driven the web based enquiries – were they searching for storage in a particular area, or did the customer know of a local business through other means and then used the web to contact them or look up their details.

What the data does show is that conversions are lower for web based inquiries than phone calls and then walk-ins respectively. This is not surprising as shopper habits support this trend. A shopper is likely to contact multiple stores online, maybe call two or three and probably only visit one or two at most. The customer survey data supports this theory. If each customer is contacting multiple stores online then they will only store at one location. So for every enquiry online the odds of converting them are clearly lower.

Other research the Self Storage Association conducts, such as the Mystery Shopping Programme, indicates a wide disparity in the way operators deal with online enquiries. Some operators will engage with a customer online and attempt to secure a sale in that medium, while others will endeavour to contact the customer by phone and convert the sale in a more personal environment. Further detailed analysis would be required to determine the impact the various approaches have on online conversion rates. The quartile data does suggest that some operators are performing well above the average.

We think you will find value in reading the full report.

Be sure to talk to us about Storman Cloud and it’s intelligent business tool integrations. Use business intelligence for your self storage business through Storman Cloud to gain insights into your own facilities.