The self storage industry first emerged in Europe in the early 1990s, and has since established a strong European market. For the past four years, an annual industry survey has been conducted by the Federation of European Self Storage Associations (FEDESSA). This survey gave both users and industry members an insight into the storage industry across Europe, identifying key trends and providing an opportunity to track the growth of self-storage across the continent over the past few years.
So who were the main players in the self storage industry in 2015, and what could last year’s stats and trends mean for 2016? To find out more, take a look at our quick summary of the 2015 European Self Storage Annual Survey.
About the survey
The 2015 survey has been compiled by operators across Europe (FEDESSA), and has included information, statistics and insights from over 96 companies in 345 locations across the continent, representing 13 nations. Nations that have not been included in the survey (e.g. UK and Russia) have still been incorporated with responses received by alternative surveys, where appropriate.
The squeeze on space
It is estimated that roughly 72% of Europeans were living in cities in 2015, and this figure was 10% higher in the UK, with an estimated 82% dwelling in cities. In addition to this increasing urban population, house prices have increased, while sizes of living spaces have decreased e.g. the average size of a one bedroom flat in London was 47 sq m. This three pronged pressure indicates that Europeans in recent years have experienced an increased strain on space, which could mean that external self storage facilities are becoming an increasingly attractive option for city dwellers.
Growth in number of facilities
The survey results have suggested that self storage is a growing industry, with Europe having an approximate 2600 self storage facilities in 2015, a 4.9-7.1% rise since 2014. This number is only likely to increase in 2016, especially with expected continued growth in urban population and house prices, along with increased awareness of the convenience of the service in general. As of 2015, 39% of European facilities were located in the UK, a significantly higher number than anywhere else on the continent, indicating that the UK is a sure leader in this market.
Increased size and occupancy
There has been a slight growth in occupancy of available storage space between 2014 and 2015, from a 74% occupancy to 78%. This small rise in occupancy was observed in most of the surveyed countries, except for the UK, which saw a slight drop in occupancy, though this may be due to the incredibly large numbers of storage facilities available compared to other European countries.
The amount of floor space available in Europe has experienced a 4.9% growth between 2014 and 2015, with 7.5 million sq m now available. The Netherlands, UK and Iceland all have three times the European average of 0.015 sq m per capita, but when compared to the USA average of 0.72 sq m per capita, it is obvious that there is still room for some growth.
How are self storage enquiries made?
The vast majority of enquiries about self storage were recorded as being made via the internet (65%), indicating that the best chance to find deals and information regarding storage is through the internet.
Future projections and expectations
Operators who claimed that their future plans include expansion, stated that they feel positive about the prospect of expansion and its profitability. Three quarters of all survey respondents stated that they foresaw 2015 being more profitable than 2014, although more than half of respondents did not expect rent to increase. In summary, it seems that most respondents have a positive outlook about the future of this industry, hinting that 2016 will be a year that will see further growth and therefore increased availability and awareness about self storage options amongst the general public.
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