The Self Storage Association, of which Kangaroo Self Storage is proudly a member, is the principal trade association representing self-storage operators in the UK. It sets and upholds the standards for our industry, acts as a forum for discussion and debate between members, and conducts industry-specific research that we can use to understand our customers better and improve our services.
Every year, the SSA surveys its members and their customers and produces an annual industry report. Around 25% of self storage facilities in the country complete the survey, representing roughly 40% of all available storage space. The data for the 2022 report was collected in January and February of this year, using industry data from the 2021 calendar year.
Self storage unit occupancy on current lettable space is sitting at 83.3%, up from 82.3% last year; continuing to rise in 2021, despite concerns that levels would drop back to pre-pandemic levels following the significant rise in 2020. It is worth pointing out that this figure also includes stores that have recently opened or expanded their available space, which brings the average down slightly.
Here at Kangaroo Self Storage, we're thrilled to report that our facilities have outperformed the national industry average, with a stated average occupancy of 85.3% across our self storage in Scotland and northwest England in 2021.
The churn rate of a self-storage facility can be used to gauge customer retention and is measured by the number of move-outs in a year divided by the total number of units occupied during that period. The more long-term customers a store has, the lower the churn rate will be. A high churn rate usually results in more work and costs for the business.
In 2021, the churn rate dropped significantly from pre-pandemic levels of 118% to 76%, indicating that more people are becoming long-term self storage users and are recognising the industry's value.
As expected, London continues to have the highest rental rates per square foot at £36.38. In contrast, the north of England's average rental rate comes in at £19.83, which is good news for customers looking for self storage in Wirral, Warrington and Altrincham.
Self storage is a relatively young industry in the UK, and a large proportion of the public is unaware of the full range of services and benefits offered by storage facilities. However, data from the SSA survey does indicate that usage, awareness and understanding of the services provided is slowly increasing. From the members of the public surveyed, the following data was collected:
There is still a lot to do to raise awareness and improve public opinion of self storage. The report clearly shows that a strong online presence is a way to achieve this, with over 73% of those surveyed saying they would turn to the internet to search to find self storage in their local area. The report also showed that email or online methods were the clear winners when people were asked how they would prefer to contact a self storage business. At Kangaroo, we understand that being able to book a unit from the comfort of your own home is a priority for many, which is why we make it easy for you to get a quote and book your unit from our website.
Of the existing self storage customers surveyed for the report, 72% were between 40 – 70 years old. Only 16% were under 35 and less likely to have navigated life-changing events that can lead people to use self storage. For example, a death in the family is the most common life event people use self storage for, and those going through a divorce or ending a long-term relationship are much more likely to use self storage. Self-storage operators' challenge is to market to these customers with respect and dignity.
Other interesting figures include that 29% of self storage customers are involved in a house move, and people renovating a home are three times more likely to think about using self storage.
It is worth noting at this point that because the survey took place in January and February, the percentage of young people using self storage will be significantly less than in the summer months when student storage experiences an uptick.
Retail continues to lead the way for those using self-storage for business purposes, with 19% of business users coming from this sector. Other major drivers of business customers are professional services at 14%, and the IT sector has jumped from historical levels of 1% to 5%.
Self storage continues to support small businesses, with 84% of business customers having fewer than 10 staff members. The number of businesses with 1 – 3 staff members has risen from 50% in 2017 to 59%
Business customers tend to stay longer than domestic, with 50% intending to stay in a unit for 24 months or more compared with 18% for domestic users.
Self storage is a location-based business, and travel time to a unit can influence which facility a customer chooses. Data from the survey shows that 75% of people travel 20 minutes or less to their storage unit, particularly in cities where facilities like Kangaroo Self Storage Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow are in much higher density and easily accessible by both car and public transport.
Customers in more regional or rural areas may have to travel over 20 minutes to find their nearest store. It is anticipated that the cost of fuel increases and high inflation rates could impact the distance people are willing to travel to a storage unit in the future.
You can read the full Annual Industry Report on the SSA website. Kangaroo Self Storage is proud to be a member of the Self Storage Association and part of an exciting, growing industry that is seeing continuous improvement year after year.