SSA UK Annual Report - Self storage usage in the UK

SSA UK Annual Report - Self storage usage in the UK

The Self Storage Association (SSA UK) is the principal trade association within the UK which represents both self storage operators and industry supplier members’ interests within the self storage sector. The aim of the SSA UK is to support and promote best practice and growth within the ever-expanding self storage industry.

Every year, the SSA UK produces an annual report designed to provide industry-specific research for the self-storage sector. Now, in its fifteenth year, the SSA UK Annual Report covers all viewpoints across the sector, collecting data and feedback from self-storage providers, customers and the general public, aiming to raise awareness and highlight the benefits of self storage. The Annual Report is also used to set the professional standard for the industry whilst also encouraging sustainability.

Self storage post COVID

During 2021, post COVID, it appears as though the self-storage industry is doing well. There was an unexpected increase in profitability for the self storage industry on a whole, compared to 2020, this looks likely to continue into the latter part of 2022 with 62% of operators surveyed expecting to increase profits again for another year.

Occupancy and rental rates have increased across almost all the UK regions at a steady rate, resulting in an increase of occupied self storage space of 2.17 million square feet - these figures indicate that the demand for self storage is growing at a faster rate than supply.

Key findings - Self storage usage in the UK

The key findings from the SSA UK Annual Report 2022 make for some interesting reading and one area in particular highlights the reasons why people are currently using self storage. This not only helps self storage providers to understand their customer-base better but also has enabled storage insurance providers, like Store Insure, to create insurance policies that best protect customers’ assets.

Some of the key points from the 2022 Annual Report are listed below

  • The UK average net rental rate is up 9% from last year, with a figure of £26.13 per sq foot (per annum).
  • 89% of customers surveyed are satisfied with the service received from their self service store.
  • 72% of self storage users are between 40-70 years old.
  • The most common reason for people using self storage is a death in the family.
  • 29% of self storage customers are involved in moving house.
  • Divorced or separated people are twice as likely to use self storage.
  • People renovating their homes are 3 times more likely to use self storage.
  • Most people would prefer to arrange self storage online, with 44% of those surveyed preferring to use an automated store.

Industry standards and regulation

The SSA UK Annual Report for 2022, estimates that there are around 2,050 self storage stores in the UK, with 621 of these being container based. This equates to around 52 million sq feet of storage space within the UK alone.

So with these figures in mind it is worth noting that the self storage industry within the UK is not currently regulated and there is little guidance from the UK government as to what defines a self storage store. There is however a European standard, although as it was created more than a decade ago it has not included newer additions to the industry such as mobile storage, focussing more on the differentiation from self storage and removers storage, it is desperately in need of an update!

Despite the lack of regulation, the self storage industry is a professional, fast growing and competitive industry and if you are looking to choose a self storage provider there are a number there are a number of things you can research beforehand:

  • Check the Store Insure website - Our website has a database of over 2,000 approved self storage suppliers.
  • Visit locations - Visiting potential self storage providers and speaking with staff will help you to research the best option for you.
  • Reviews - Checking online reviews and spending some time looking up information on the internet will help give you an overview of what the self storage provider is really like.
  • Word of mouth - Asking friends and family for recommendations is always a good way to find out first hand what a company is like.
  • Storage Insurance - Obtaining comprehensive and correct storage insurance is a must. Store Insure provide personal and business cover for goods and you can buy online in a few clicks of a button. Visit our Get a quote and buy online page on our website.

What do self storage providers report?

During 2021, occupancy and rental rates have increased throughout the self storage sector in almost all of the UK regions with the latest figures demonstrating an increased need for self storage. What is interesting is that the length of stay has also increased, which means customers are choosing to store, on average, for longer than previous years.

In particular, the SSA UK Annual Report for 2022, also details the average operating costs of self storage providers (supplied by providers themselves) and this also highlights a few areas which make for some interesting reading.

  • The highest area of outgoing costs is unsurprisingly on staff with an average of 31% of the annual outgoing costs.
  • The lowest is an average spend of 2% on other marketing.
  • The second lowest comes in at 4% for insurance - however this would most likely cover building and business insurance for the provider and would not reflect the cost of storage insurance (offered to customers) costs.

What do self storage customers report?

Existing self storage customers were surveyed on what additional services providers could offer when it comes to self storage, customers were given a list of potential services and were asked to pick the most desired - see below for results from most to least popular:

  • Waste Disposal - 15%
  • More Lighting - 11%
  • Shelving - 10%
  • Extended/different opening times - 9%
  • Electricity/power - 8%
  • Wifi - 7%
  • Phone App for managing your account and accessing the unit - 6%
  • Receiving parcels on your behalf - 6%
  • Logistics and transportation - 6%
  • Onsite help from staff - 6%
  • Office Space - 4%
  • More lifts - 4%
  • Fully automated store - 3%
  • Bluetooth access - 2%
  • Insurance - 1%

With storage insurance being ranked lowest of all additional potential services that could be supplied, without all the details it is hard to put a context on this figure. Are customers aware of the need for insurance when storing goods? Do customers know they can source their own (and often cheaper) storage insurance from Store Insure? Or are they perfectly satisfied with the generic one-size-fits-all storage insurance add on with their self storage contract?

Much of the insurance which is offered by storage providers equates to poor value for money in comparison to insurance from a specialist provider like Store Insure.

Our storage insurance policy is designed to offer complete protection for your items whilst they are stored away from your home or business – providing peace of mind that your belongings are covered in case of theft, fire, flood, storm, pests and more. With over 2,000 approved providers listed you can now get a quote and buy online with Store Insure.

All information and data used in this article comes from the SSA UK Annual Report 2022 which can be downloaded in full via their website (.pdf file).

For more information on the SSA UK visit their website.

Further reading

As part of an ongoing series, we have a number of Quick Guide articles on our blog specifically created to offer comprehensive self storage and storage insurance information and advice for customers in an easy-to-read, informative format:

Get a QuoteWhen compared against cover from storage providers - customers typically save money with us

Patrick Pellens

Author: Patrick Pellens

I started in the insurance industry in 2003 specialising in Personal Insurances such as Motor Bike, Car and Home Insurance.