Chinese New Year Drives Seasonal Self-Storage Demand in Asia Markets

Self-storage operators in Asian markets with a high concentration of Chinese residents have noted a seasonal surge in business related to the Chinese New Year. Since Jan. 1, move-ins have increased an average of 10 percent, as millions of Chinese households conduct an annual spring cleaning leading up to the holiday on Feb. 16, according to the Self Storage Association Asia (SSAA), a trade association dedicated to supporting self-storage operators and suppliers in emerging markets along the Pacific Rim.

The SSAA believes the trend falls alongside a rise in consumer familiarity with self-storage, as unit rentals have become more commonplace for temporary storage in preparation for remodeling or moving residences.

“With rising consumerism and shrinking apartment sizes in major cities like Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taipei, self-storage has become a lifestyle necessity and not just an option for households,” Helen Ng, chair of the SSAA, said in a press release. “On top of these structural growth drivers are short-term, seasonal drivers such as the Chinese New Year effect. In fact, this has been the top demand driver each January, according to our poll of self-storage operators across Asia.”

Spikes in demand have been particularly high in key Chinese cities like Beijing and Shenzhen, where self-storage has become popular with middle-income households, the release stated. Beijing unit rentals nearly doubled in January for China Mini Storage Ltd. (CMS), according to Alex Tso, founder and CEO. Most CMS tenants rent for up to eight months.

My Cube Self-Storage in Beijing has also experienced an uptick in move-ins. “[Residential customers] drive an increase of between 10 to 20 percent in the demand for self-storage in the months leading up to the Chinese New Year,” said Emma Feng, CEO. “They typically store furniture, collectibles and wine for a period of about three months.”

In Shenzhen, Locker Locker has noted “a rising trend of personal storers who are either moving into a new apartment or redecorating their current apartment ahead of the Chinese New Year,” said Charlotte Sun, founder and CEO. “The typical storage period for these households is between six months to one year.”

Previously identified drivers in Asian markets have included death, divorce, relocation and urban density, the release stated. Going forward, the SSAA intends to study the Chinese New Year and other seasonal factors to gain a better understanding of short-term demand.

“The opportunities afforded by seasonal demand, coupled with structural growth drivers, especially in China, bodes well for the industry at a time when the global economy is expected to take off,” Ng said.

Launched in 2014, SSAA supports members' interests to help grow the self-storage industry in Asia.

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