Self-storage is growing and thriving around the world, creating opportunities for investors, developers and operators. The U.S. market, of course, remains strong, with nearly 10 percent of the American population paying for the product. Australia has been a rapidly developing market. As it matures, rental rates continue to rise, and competition is expected to increase. There are signs that operators in France, the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe will see sound growth this year, too.
As we move into a new decade, there are several trends that will affect self-storage operation and growth worldwide. Here are three that stand out.
1. Development Drives Growth
Commercial and residential real estate development has been a strong driver for self-storage, particularly in the U.S. Though some markets are at or near saturation, housing trends such as downsizing and urban living are expected to endure.
For example, in Australia, large amounts of property development will continue to promote self-storage growth. This contrasts with the U.K., which experienced slow development last year due to uncertainty surrounding Brexit. The outlook for 2020 and beyond is more positive, with surveys of some of the nation’s largest operators and developers generally showing confidence.
2: Smart Security Attracts Customers
As self-storage development increases, so does the intensity of competition. Operators will need to stand out with highly desirable and unique service offerings.
Among the features operators are likely to use to pique consumer interest is smart security. Advancements in technology offer mobile options, electronic locks and other features that provide tenants with improved access and peace of mind. Though some markets may not be ready for this evolution, differentiating a facility through upgraded security is likely to become more important to stand out in any market.
3: Container Conversions Meet Special Needs
In the U.K. and other global markets, containers remain an integral part of the storage industry. As self-storage expands, the needs for containers become more varied. Market dynamics will drive some operators to convert containers to fit their unique requirements or perhaps even create new kinds of containers. Other businesses exploring container conversions include hotels, bars and retail.
Overall, the self-storage sector remains strong worldwide, with several potential advancements that could present exciting opportunities for investment and development in 2020 in beyond.
Lauren Gladding is self-storage sales and marketing manager for Mr. Box, a U.K.-based supplier of steel storage and shipping containers. In addition to a range of storage containers for sale or lease, the company offers container-conversion services, site offices and canteen units. For more information, visit www.mrbox.co.uk.