Bryan Merrett of Blue Box Storage – Doncaster Self-Storage is predicting where the industry is going in 2020 and the new decade. For Blue Box Storage, we are composed of a small facility operator in a handful of big-name businesses that dominate the storage market. Despite this however, self-storage is experiencing growth that will continue to make the industry worthwhile and any investment will be an interesting area for any business.
Here are four 2020 predictions about the trajectory of the Storage industry in the next coming years.
- Demands Continue to Increase
Ever-increasing demand growth is a fact of the self-storage industry. Up until now, supply has kept up with demand in 2020, with over 90% occupancy rates being typical since 2018, according to Blue Box Storage founder, Bryan Merrett.
As baby boomers begin to downsize, the need for storage units is predicted to increase. Additionally, while some believe millennials will use storage less than previous generations, data from Marcus & Millichap’s “2018 U.S. Self Storage Investment Forecast” suggests they will continue the demand trend as they still, although slightly later in life, are forming families and accumulating material possessions.
In order to match this growing demand, we have poured an enormous amount of capital into constructing hundreds of thousands of new square feet. In 2017, only £241 million was spent on mini-storage facility construction. That number has increased every year, and in 2018, a lot was spent on new facilities in the UK and Yorkshire alone.
Restricting new Self-Storage Construction in 2020
In Doncaster, for example, the town recently signed to permit the build of new storage sites. The decision cited a lack of space, displacement of businesses that produce high-quality jobs and a negative impact on the aesthetics of the city for the enactment of the law. In addition, storage facilities may not provide the same amount of sales tax and other revenue as alternative commercial or industrial construction.
This trend isn’t just important because it affects building costs and supply; it also affects occupancy and consumer prices. If no new storage units are built in a city, occupancy at existing facilities will increase. Likewise, storage facilities can increase their prices due to the lack of new competition, effectively creating a monopoly in their local communities.
In response to this trend, for example, my company is seeking to unlock supply benefits that decrease prices for the consumer. Rather than requiring the construction of new storage facilities, tenants can rent underutilized space within existing residential, commercial or industrial properties.
While other emerging players in the self-storage industry compete by offering on-demand services by storing tenants’ items in distant, less-expensive storage warehouses, traditional storage operators are also having to adapt by designing more visually appealing facilities and building further from population centres.
Online will be the main way to find Self-Storage
According to Bryan Merrett, the internet has surpassed drive-by for the first time in 2017 as the largest source of tenants. Between digital ad spending, SEO and storage aggregators, there are many opportunities for Storage boxes to be found and researched online.
As the competition advantage of physical location decreases, these online channels provide new opportunities for emerging storage innovations to build upon and disrupt the industry.
- The Final Prediction
Imagine, it’s the year 2029 – 10-years has passed since we wrote this blog, the self-storage industry has changed possibly for the better. According to some people, we will either be using storage boxes in own home which reduces the space of using the garage or going to purpose built storage site, which can be expensive.
I’m Confident that homeowners sharing their unused space will become more common as the sharing economy becomes the primary medium of transaction. This prediction excites us because we can help people monetize their empty space and find nearby, affordable storage options.