Self storage industry continues to grow

By SQ Digital

18 Jan 2017

More people than ever are putting their possessions in self storage, but 70 per cent of the population still do not know how the units operate, according to an industry report.

Annual findings from the Self Storage Association (SSA) show that the number of people who have heard of self storage has risen from 77 per cent in 2014 to 90 per cent in 2016.

However, only 30 per cent of people surveyed understand that only they have access to their units. This includes the fact that self storage providers cannot enter the unit once they have handed over the keys.

SSA board member and CEO of Smart Storage, Mike Wilson, is keen to educate the population on what it means to rent a unit within a large facility.

He said: “Even prior to this report being published, we saw a drastic increase in relation to reservations of our units over the past 12 months. This is down to people gaining a better understanding of our services and how they can use solutions we provide, but there's always more we can do to promote the benefits of the industry as a whole.”

The SSA is an independent not for profit organisation, representing the interests of self storage operators/owners, suppliers to the industry and other related industry stakeholders. The SSA provides an opportunity to share data, knowledge and resources to improve business performance and promote the benefits of self storage to the wider community. The SSA specifically focuses on increasing public awareness of Self storage as a service offering, whilst striving to improve standards across the industry.

Their annual report shows that throughout 2015 and 2016, the industry added another 1.9 million square feet of storage units through new business openings and significant expansion of existing spaces.

Self storage units now cover around 37.6 million square feet of space in the UK.

One of the sites that has benefitted from a substantial development is the Liverpool branch of North West based provider, Smart Storage.

Company CEO, Mike Wilson, added: “Comparing annual totals between December 2015 and 2016, we saw a 21 per cent increase in the reservations. That's a huge leap for just 12 months; allowing, and necessitating, the expansion of our Liverpool facility in2016 to add even more space."

The self storage experts have also experienced growth in Altrincham, where a new branch opened last summer. They initially built units covering 22,000 square feet of lettable space and after just four months boasted an 85 per cent occupancy rate. They are set to almost double in size this Spring, offering more storage space for people to utilise.

Mr Wilson also attributes this success to the internet, with the number of leads coming through the web doubling in the space of a year.

He said: "The internet really is a powerful tool, and should be used alongside your bricks and mortar to attract even more clients to your business." The world wide web has become the main driver of recognition in the self storage world this past year, with 11 per cent of people attributing it as the reason they know about the service. It surpasses more traditional methods, such as outdoor advertising and word of mouth, which both are responsible for around 10 per cent of people hearing about self storage.

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