Though the negative reverberations of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic seem to be nearly endless, there’s some small silver lining for the U.K. self-storage industry, as online searches and customer inquiries for storage rentals surge in the region. According to Google Trends data reported by Storage World, which operates three self-storage facilities in Manchester, England, online searches in the U.K. increased 21 percent in March vs. the same month last year. The spike parallels an upswell in customer inquiries received by Storage World last month, coinciding with stay-at-home orders issued by U.K. officials to reduce the spread of infection, according to a press release.
Storage World experienced a 35 percent increase in customer phone calls and a 20 percent bump in overall inquiries last month, compared to the same period last year. Company officials attributed the increase to workers needing to make room for home offices, workout space and other adjustments.
“We have certainly seen an increase in the number of storage enquiries since the U.K.-wide lockdown was announced, but we have also seen a significant shift in the type of inquiries we have been receiving,” said Marc Studholme, managing director. “Traditionally, the profile of a storage customer is pretty consistent. We usually have a 50/50 split between domestic and business inquiries. Since the lockdown, it’s more like 90/10, with far more domestic inquiries as people look to make space in their homes.”
Studholme believes the shift to working from home could signal a more permanent change for U.K. workers, even once the spread of COVID-19 subsides and businesses resume more familiar operating schedules. “Maybe not today, maybe not next week, but soon, we will all be looking to create space,” Studholme said. “Space that allows us to work from home far more regularly than we ever did before; space in our businesses so people can work, visit, dine or be entertained. Every single business and individual has had to change to adapt to some extent in order to try and cope. The only thing that is certain is that the long-term impact of these changes will be significant and could change the way we live and work forever.”
Storage World offers traditional self-storage, which can be customized at no extra cost. It also provides office and warehouse space to local businesses, complete with restroom and kitchen facilities. The company’s portfolio serves Manchester and the neighboring communities of Blackley, Chadderton, Failsworth, Heywood, Oldham, Prestwich, Rochdale, Royton and Whitefield.