Where We Stand: UK Self Storage Industry Statistics At A Glance

On this page, you will find statistics about the United Kingdom self-storage industry consolidated by WhatStorage. The data referenced on this page is based on the SSAUK’s 2021 Industry Report, SpareFoot, the United States Self Storage Association, and other data collected by WhatStorage as of April 2022.

 

As of late, self-storage has seen a lot of growth and has become very popular among home and business owners across the UK. After all, it is an effective way to declutter your home or office and can also be used for long-term storage. Not only that, but many entrepreneurs have also seen the value of starting their self-storage businesses.

 

To quantify this growth, we have taken some self-storage statistics and have collated them for your perusal. Moreover, we have included some information about the United States self-storage industry, thus further putting into perspective the status of the UK self-storage industry today.

Part 1: A Quick Look At The UK Self Storage Industry

  • Annual Turnover – £890M
  • Total Available Self Storage Space in the UK – 50M sq. ft. 
  • Total Number of Self Storage Facilities in the UK – 1,997
  • Average Rentable Storage Space Per Person Based On UK Population – 0.74 sq. ft.
  • UK Average Net Rental Rate – £23.94/sq. ft. 

Part 2: Self Storage Facilities In The UK

Between the 998 companies that make up the UK’s self-storage industry, there are 1,997 self-storage facilities. As already mentioned, the total available space provided by these facilities is 50 million square feet, and 42.15 million sq. ft. or 82.3% of this has been occupied by customers as of 2020. The average size for a self-storage facility in the UK is 25,288 sq. ft. 

 

Out of the above mentioned 998 companies, 420 have partnered with WhatStorage. Here are the top storage companies in terms of branches that have entrusted us with finding customers for their business:

 
  • easyStorage – 84
  • Henfield Click+Store Ltd – 72
  • JamVans Storage – 28
  • Britannia Beckwith – 19
 

These overwhelming numbers further multiply in the United States, where there are over 49,000 self-storage facilities, 1.9B sq. ft. in available storage space, and almost $40B (£30.47B) in annual revenue as of 2020. 

Average Rentable Storage Space Per Person In The UK

Based on the UK’s current population, the average rentable storage space per person is 0.74 sq. ft. This is significantly smaller than that of the United States, which is 5.9 sq. ft. per person. This, of course, is no surprise given the numbers that make up the total storage space available in the US vs that of the UK. 

The Average Price Of Self Storage

The average self-storage price in the UK is £23.94/sq. ft., about £0.86 more expensive than the previous year. Coupled with the increase in occupancy rate, 2020 is considered to have been a profitable year for the industry. 

 

On the other hand, WhatStorage customers pay an average of £20/sq. Ft. for a self storage unit, making it less expensive than the national average.

 

In contrast, self-storage customers in the United States have to pay an average of $0.91 (£0.69) per sq. ft., or $89.12 (£68.37) per unit. 

Part 3: Self Storage Customer Information

The aforementioned occupancy rate in 2020 (82.3% of the total available storage space in the UK), which is the highest recorded level of occupancy in the industry since 2004, is a direct result of 50% of the UK’s population having knowledge and awareness of self-storage.

 

According to self-storage companies, their website (69%), signages (11%), and referrals (9%) are the most common sources of enquiries from potential customers. Moreover, 44% of customers make sure to read reviews before selecting a self-storage facility. 

 

Tip: As 69% of enquiries come from your website, optimise your Google my Business account and increase your website’s visibility by listing your website on directories and WhatStorage.

 

Why WhatStorage? WhatStorage has recently generated about 200,000 views for self-storage companies, with our top three locations taking a good share of the pie with roughly 60,000, 30,000, and 15,000 impressions respectively. 

 

Surveys also show that:

 
  • 43.3% of self-storage customers in 2020 have used self-storage previously.
  • The age range for most self-storage customers is 40-70 years old. Furthermore, 41% of this majority are in the 50-65-year-old age range.
  • More males (57.3%) take out a self-storage contract for domestic use as compared to females (42.6%) and others (0.1%).
  • Retail, professional services, and nonprofits are the most common businesses that use self-storage units. 
  • Self-storage is used more by small enterprises with no more than ten employees.
  • Most domestic storage customers in the UK plan on using storage units for 0-3 months. The same number of customers have an unclear timeline for when they will need a self-storage unit. Meanwhile, most business storage users intend on using their units for more than 24 months

Why Use Self Storage?

According to the SSAUK Industry report, 29% of self-storage customers are involved with moving house. Aside from moving house, family deaths, changes in the relationship, growing families, and home renovations are some of the most common reasons for a household to opt for self-storage. 

Most In-Demand Self Storage Unit Size 

A good majority of domestic and business storage users in the UK rent units sized 11-50 sq. ft. Furthermore, WhatStorage has seen an influx of inquiries and rentals for 35. Sq. ft units with approximately 5,000 queries and rentals across the UK.

 

US self-storage tenants, on the other hand, typically rent units sized around 100 sq. ft.

Moving Into Self Storage

Although several storage companies provide collection and delivery services to their facilities, according to WhatStorage data, about 33% of our users required a Man and Van or a Removals Company to help them move their stuff into storage. 

 

Here is a full breakdown how people want to move their belongings into self storage: 33% Require A Man And Van/Removals 21% Will Do It Themselves 27% Will Hire A Van And Do It Themselves 17% Will Ask Friends To Help Them Out  

Given these numbers, WhatStorage has about 30% of partners who offer removal or collection services, and 22% of WhatRemovals partners also offer various storage services.

Which City Searched For Self Storage The Most?

With an average of 3,000 searches, residents of Liverpool look into self-storage in their city the most. Meanwhile, WhatStorage’s services let you find self-storage units in many areas around the United Kingdom, including:

 

Average Time From Date Of Enquiry To Moving Date

Based on the data collected by WhatStorage, self-storage customers take an average of 33.9 days from the date of their initial enquiry to move into their self-storage unit. These numbers come from a sample of 10,000 enquiries.

How Often Self Storage Customers Plan On Accessing Their Items

Survey shows that 33% of self-storage users visit their storage unit once a month, while about 12% visit their units at least once a week. Meanwhile, a good majority of WhatStorage customers intend on accessing their items in storage yearly, with about 3,196 people out of approximately 10,000 choosing this option. Here is the full breakdown of the relevant figures:

 
  • Yearly – 3,196
  • Monthly – 2,607
  • Unsure – 2,415
  • Weekly 1,648
  • Daily – 588

When Do People Most Commonly Book A Storage Unit?

Based on the data collected by WhatStorage, most self-storage customers book their self-storage units on a Monday between 11:00 am and 12:00 nn. These numbers come from a sample of 10,000 inquiries.

 

For a closer look at our average week, check this out:

 
  • Monday – 16.90%
  • Tuesday – 15.39%
  • Wednesday – 14.75%
  • Thursday – 13.70%
  • Friday – 13.18%
  • Saturday – 12.75%
  • Sunday – 13.32%

Part 4: Self Storage in the UK During the Pandemic

During the COVID-19 surge, the self-storage industry remained operational, albeit under various restrictions due to the UK’s lockdown protocol. Moreover, it is safe to say that the industry thrived, as proven by the number of storage facilities (100) that opened in 2020 alone. 

 

It is also vital to note that:

   
  • 80% of self-storage operators believe that the pandemic has improved their business. There was no significant decline in occupancy after the lockdown was lifted. In fact, many operators have noticed the opposite. 
 
    • Self-storage companies were cautious when it came to rate increases during this period. Some even provided discounts and rental relief for customers who have been affected by the pandemic. As mentioned, however, the industry considers this period profitable. 
    • Despite the increase in online enquiries during this time, not many operators have allowed their customers to reserve and pay for a unit online. 
    • There is a decline in the number of customers using self-storage for travel, given the circumstances.
 
  • Only 6% of self-storage customers have changed the things they are storing due to COVID-19. 
 

Part 5: How Do We Stack Up Against US Self Storage?

To recap, here is a look at all the figures surrounding the United States Self Storage Industry:  
  • Annual Turnover – $39.5B (£30.01B)
  • Total Available Self Storage Space in the US – 1.9B sq. ft. 4
  • Total Number of Self Storage Facilities in the US- 49,233 
  • Average Rentable Storage Space Per Person Based On US Population – 5.9 sq. ft.
  • US Average Net Rental Rate –  $0.91 (£0.69) per sq. ft
 

Given the figures above, it is safe to say that the demand and supply have made self-storage more affordable and accessible in the United States. However, this does not mean that the UK self-storage industry is lagging behind. 

 

According to SSAUK’s report and WhatStorage’s collated data, the self-storage industry is continuously developing, growing, and even thriving despite the recent economic and logistical challenges that COVID-19 has presented.

 

Sources:

Self Storage Association UK (SSAUK) Sparefoot United States Self Storage Association