By Andrew Donaldson – May 2008
When I first became involved with self-storage 10 years ago, it was a good US product that had travelled badly. There were just over 100 UK facilities in operation and most Europeans hadn’t even heard of it!
Today there are over 1000 UK and European facilities, PLC listed operators, REITS and a total market capitalisation of £5billion.
Where will the industry be in another 10 years? Well, based upon its last 10 years growth anything is possible.
I predict the following – The UK market will at least double, if not treble , from 750 facilities to 2000 or so facilities – even then the saturation level will only be about a quarter of the current US level of nearly 6ft2 per person. The mainland European market will be at least 5 times its current size of 300 or so facilities and in all probability will accelerate past the current UK dominant self storage industry with possibly up to 3000 facilities spread across the mainland.
My prediction and credibility is based upon 10 years of industry experience, 3 chains of self-storage facilities, design and fit-out of over 100 facilities and a dozen business awards. Five or so years ago, I remember speaking at the UK Self Storage Conference and predicting 2 things – the industry would treble over the next 5 years and the world wide web would become one of the main enquiry drivers for a self-storage facility.