It’s been a turbulent year for many industries. The pandemic has led to a lot of upheaval caused by a combination of travel restrictions, businesses closing and two national lockdowns.
With the second lockdown soon coming to an end, customers and business owners alike are wondering what the future holds for the self storage industry, being one that relies heavily on highly impacted sectors, such as the property market and retail.
In this post, we take a look at some of the key findings from the SSA UK annual report, and delve into the reasons why people may need self storage more than ever in 2021 and beyond.
32% of self storage customers are moving house
It probably comes at no surprise that SSA UK’s survey found that generally, a large portion of self storage users are in the process of moving home. Self storage facilities have long been a useful and convenient tool when it comes to moving, which can often be stressful and chaotic. Enquiries for storage facilities dropped by 30-50% during the first national lockdown.
Hitting the pause button on the property market for almost three months meant that when the restrictions were lifted in June, there was pent up demand. The Stamp Duty holiday announcement shortly after only increased the number of people wanting to buy a new home.
With economic upheaval and finances becoming a concern among homeowners, we may see a surge in the number of people looking to downsize, move to more remote areas or sell their home due to job loss – higher demand for quick sales will likely result in a sharp decline in house prices over the coming months.
Cheaper house prices, plus the government’s pledge to reduce the minimum deposit value to 5% for first time buyers, may well lead to a surge in first time buyers looking for their chance to get onto the property ladder, meaning that self storage facilities may not be too greatly impacted by falling house prices next year – they may even benefit.
72% of businesses that use self storage have less than 10 staff
The flexibility that self storage offers has always suited small businesses, many of which are run from the owner’s home or even a coffee shop. It plays very well into the digital economy – ecommerce businesses are busier than ever due to the high street being more or less shut during lockdown, and growing health concerns around mixing with the public as Covid-19 cases continue to rise.
Self storage facilities could therefore see an uptake in occupancy of business units, as smaller ecommerce stores continue to grow and consumers adapt to the “new normal”. This doesn’t mean that retail businesses aren’t looking for ways to save money, however. Many are turning to surplus stock to save some cash and buying in bulk to make sure they’re equipped to deal with increasing demand – especially as Black Friday and Christmas Shopping season fastly approach. More stock requires more storage space, so business storage facilities may see an uptake towards the end of 2020 and into 2021.
It’s not just small, online businesses that may see a use for storage units, however. Industries deemed to be providing essential items, such as food and beverage, pharmaceuticals and pet supply shops are still very much in operation and potentially expanding their online presence. Supermarkets in particular could see an increased demand as people eat more at home and social distancing measures are enforced by restaurants.
There has also been an increase in businesses looking to downsize over the past few months, as large office spaces are rendered useless due to remote working becoming the norm. Whether a business owner is looking to store office furniture temporarily, create a supply hub where workers can stock up at their own convenience, or ditch their current office rental entirely in favour of a smaller unit with access to storage, self storage facilities will prove very useful. Many companies are adapting well to remote working, and with the UK far from being out of the woods when it comes to Covid-19, it would be no surprise to see this trend continue well into 2021 – with some companies already making plans to permanently transition to home working, meaning only a small base is needed for their business.
68% of initial self storage enquiries are made online
In January 2020, the internet continued to be the source of the majority of self storage enquiries. This is not likely to change going forward, as more people look to online communication since the onset of the pandemic. However, following this initial enquiry we find that the best service is obtained through a phone call, as this enables us to provide you with a quote that is bespoke to your needs to ensure you’re not paying for more space than you require.
It’s never been more important for self storage companies to improve their digital platform, and make data-driven decisions based on analytics to ensure they offer customers the best experience possible. Investing in a user friendly website and digital marketing is a cost effective means of acquiring new leads. At the beginning of 2020, walk-ins generated the highest conversion rate, but email is rapidly catching up and will no doubt continue to soar over the coming months to overtake face-to-face marketing/interactions.
Self Storage at Storage World in Manchester
Whilst it may have been a rocky year with some inevitable hardships ahead, overall, the future looks to be bright for the self storage industry. With plenty of incentives to move home, businesses looking for smarter office solutions and several industries still booming, there are plenty of opportunities for self storage facilities to grow and succeed.
For self storage solutions in Manchester, from personal storage lockers to warehouse space and office rentals, look no further than Storage World. With three modern locations across the bustling Greater Manchester region, plus contemporary facilities, easy access, high tech security and more, there’s no better place to store your belongings whilst you transition into the next phase of your life or career.