The self storage industry in the UK is constantly evolving, adapting to changing trends and demands. To gain a comprehensive understanding of the sector, the Self Storage Association UK (SSA UK) conducts an annual industry report. Now in its 16th year, the report provides valuable insights by collecting data from industry operators, current customers, and the general public. In the SSA UK Annual Industry Report 2023, particular attention is given to the impact of the cost of living crisis and increasing debt costs. Additionally, this year's report benefits from the expertise of Cushman & Wakefield, a renowned real estate services firm, offering a comprehensive economic overview of the industry.

Robust Data Collection:

The SSA UK Annual Industry Report 2023 boasts an impressive level of data collection, encompassing various perspectives within the industry. By surveying industry operators, current customers, and the general public, the report ensures a comprehensive analysis of the self storage landscape in the UK. With approximately a quarter of stores in the UK participating in the survey, representing around 40% of the total storage space, the sample size is notably robust. This extensive data collection provides a solid foundation for analysing key industry trends and developments.

Collaboration with Cushman & Wakefield:

For the eighth consecutive year, the SSA UK has collaborated with Cushman & Wakefield to produce the industry report. Leveraging their extensive experience in valuing self storage properties worldwide and their broad knowledge of the property market, Cushman & Wakefield adds valuable insights to the report. Their contribution goes beyond individual data points, providing a holistic economic overview that contextualises the achievements of the self storage industry.

Key Focus Areas:

The SSA UK Annual Industry Report 2023 addresses crucial aspects that impact the self storage industry. Two key areas of focus are the cost of living crisis and the increasing cost of debt. These factors have a significant influence on the industry's performance and the decisions made by both operators and customers. By examining the effects of these challenges, the report offers valuable insights into how the self storage sector is navigating and adapting to changing economic conditions.

Key Findings:

The report presents a wealth of data, collected in January and February 2023, with a focus on the 2022 calendar year. The following are some of the key findings:

  1. Occupancy maintained at 83.3%: Despite challenges faced by various industries, the self storage sector has maintained a healthy occupancy rate, indicating sustained demand.
  2. UK average net rental rate: The average net rental rate per square foot per annum in the UK is £27.19, showing a 4% increase compared to the previous year.
  3. Churn rate: Although the churn rate has slightly increased, it remains below pre-pandemic levels at 81%, indicating that customers are generally satisfied with their self storage experience.
  4. Discounts: After a decrease in 2021, discounts offered by self storage providers have increased once again in 2022, potentially attracting more customers.
  5. Renovation and self storage: Individuals undertaking home renovations are three times more likely to consider using self storage, highlighting the industry's role in facilitating temporary storage solutions during such projects.
  6. Online booking and payment: An impressive 75% of self storage facilities now offer the convenience of online booking and payment, streamlining the customer experience.
  7. Impact of inflation: 16% of customers have modified their self storage usage due to increasing inflation. However, interestingly, 68% of them have increased their usage, suggesting that self storage remains an essential solution in times of economic uncertainty.
  8. Repeat customers: A significant 41.2% of self storage customers have used self storage services in the past, demonstrating the recurring nature of storage needs for many individuals and businesses.
  9. Profit projections: Approximately 33% of operators anticipate a drop in profits for 2023, indicating the need for careful industry analysis and strategic planning in response to economic shifts.
  10. Relocation and self storage: Those in the process of moving house are three times more likely to utilise self storage, reflecting the industry's role in facilitating smooth transitions during residential moves.
  11. Age demographics: Younger individuals under the age of 45 tend to utilise self storage for shorter durations, while older customers tend to maintain their storage units for more extended periods.
  12. Common life events: The most common life event prompting the use of self storage is a death in the family, emphasising the sensitive nature of storage needs during challenging times.
  13. Value perception: While the majority of customers find self storage units to be of good value, 19% of customers do not share the same sentiment, suggesting room for improvement in certain areas.
  14. Public awareness: A substantial 51% of the general public displays a good awareness of self storage as a viable solution for their storage needs.
  15. Packing materials: 39% of customers could have purchased more packing materials from their self storage store, indicating potential opportunities for upselling or improved retail offerings.
  16. Customer experience: A notable 32.2% of customers have used self storage services before, reflecting the industry's ability to foster long-term customer relationships.

The Self Storage Association UK Annual Industry Report 2023 provides an in-depth analysis of the self storage industry in the UK. Through extensive data collection from industry operators, current customers, and the general public, the report offers valuable insights into key industry trends and developments. Furthermore, the collaboration with Cushman & Wakefield brings additional expertise and a comprehensive economic overview to the report. As the self storage sector continues to evolve, this report serves as an indispensable resource for industry professionals, operators, and those interested in understanding the dynamics of the self storage industry in the UK.

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