The United States is pretty much the epicenter of the global self storage industry with the vast majority of existing self storage facilities inside the country. While it will be a long time before another country will be able to boast a comparable segment of the industry there are several countries where the industry is growing and thriving.
According to a recent report the industry is doing just that inside the United Kingdom.
The Self Storage Association UK recently released a report—their annual survey of member facilities and the industry—that painted a promising picture for the future of the industry.
Much like in the United States the majority of self storage owners are small businessmen and single-facility owners. The country currently boasts 244 operators with more than 815 facilities under their collective purview. Of those, 79 operators responded to the study (covering 403 of the nation’s facilities).
The report has a wealth of information related to the state of the industry in the UK. Probably the most important piece of information is this—business is improving and in many cases thriving. Occupancy levels are on the rise (to 71 percent up from 68). Most companies not only expect to see more profit in the coming year (79 percent); a big difference over last year when only 35 percent were that optimistic.
“Confidence is definitely up. We’ve had a very strong start to the year with demand mostly from householders,” said Nick Poole from Fort Locks Self Storage.
In countries where the industry still has a lot of room for growth recognition of the industry and what it does is vital. Of the adults surveyed for the report only 38 percent knew much about the industry and 39 percent could name a facility in their area.
The numbers could be because the majority of people still learn of the self storage facilities in their area simply be seeing them off the street (66 percent), but one industry member sees the internet becoming a bigger factor.
“High visibility on the internet is essential. It requires size, skills, and budget to be consistently on the top position both for organic and sponsored links,” said Frderic Vecchiolo of Safestore.
In the survey only seven percent of respondents were made aware of the industry via the internet.
With increased levels of success more interest among investors is bound to be raised. In the nine years prior to 2010 the industry averaged around 29 new facilities a year. Since 2009 there have only been 35 new facilities constructed. As many as 19 new facilities are expected to be built this year.
“The Self Storage Association UK Annual Survey.” Self Storage Association UK.
About the SSA UK; Self Storage Association UK.