Every year, an organisation called Self Storage Association UK conducts a survey of those who own and operate self storage facilities, as well as potential customers. The industry has seen massive growth in recent years – the 2016 survey alone shows a 5% increase in supply to a staggering 37.6 million square feet in the UK. Some of this comes from new entrants to the profession, but much of the growth is down to increased provision by existing companies. And that’s just what we’ve done here at Storage World, recently opening a new facility in the north of Manchester to complement our city centre site and serve the whole Greater Manchester area. Both of our sites reflect the evolution of self storage into workspaces, offices and industrial units, rather than just somewhere for you to store your possessions when you run out of domestic space. The new age of self-storage is dawning!
But the survey shows some other concerning statistics. While 90% of people know about self storage (up from 77% in 2014), nearly half don’t believe that they could find any use for it. 68% of those interviewed were unable to name a brand unless they lived near, or regularly drove past, a local site, which goes to prove how vital visibility is in building awareness of what we do and the wide range of services we offer.
There are some other surprises, too. There is a distinct age bias, with 18-24 and 25-34-year-olds being the most avid users. Is this because young adults move around more and have smaller homes, or because this age group is more flexible in its thinking about space and how to use it? People in the south of the country showed more awareness of self storage than people in the north, and only a small minority of people had any idea about cost.
But the clear message from the survey is the need for more people to understand what we offer here at Storage World. The majority of respondents viewed self storage as something useful for handling life changing events. So help us to spread the real message – think outside of the box about renting space and using it creatively. Space is not just for storage – space is for expanding your life, your business, your hobbies or your work.