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How has the UK’s relationship with storage changed over the years?

Posted on 22nd September 2022 by The Aussie Team
How has the UK’s relationship with storage changed over the years?

Since the 1970’s when storage was essentially inside a garage or a shed, the birth of the storage industry began its steady climb into stable success. Pioneered in the USA the concept of storage containers and units was seeded in UK soil in the 1970s and began to boom in the 1980s. With roughly 2,000 storage facilities in the UK, this number is set to increase as companies focus on expanding in response to demand.   In Europe, the UK comprises 43% of the storage market and has the most storage per person in Europe.  Rivalled only by our US cousins, the accumulations of the UK Baby Boomers answer for much of our 50.5 million square feet of storage space.  Around the Millennium, the increase of twinned removals and storage services made it commonplace for people to utilize low-cost storage when making a location move.  82% occupancy of storage units in the UK marks a record high in usage, as recent reports find. 

Factors that increase the uptake of self-storage

The increased consumerism of the last few decades simply means that as rates of accumulation increase and so too does the need for storage, particularly in times of transition.  Divorced and separating people are likely candidates for needing storage solutions.  As the divorce rate has been increasing over the years, so does the need for simple solutions when facing going separate ways.  In fact, it is 50 – 59-year-olds that are most likely to use self-storage and as baby boomers downsize, the need for storage will increase.  However, younger generations are influenced by a more minimalist trend and use self-storage to declutter their homes and store heirlooms out of the way.  As they mature and set up families, it is predicted that the appeal of storage will continue to develop through the generations. 

Business storage developments 

In the 1980’s business storage took off with the advent of containerized storage options.  Now with the whole changing face of office life, business storage can be utilized in many ways. Many storage facilities offer document archiving, to reduce the overheads of dead office space. Now E-commerce businesses, SME and start-ups can benefit from basing their enterprises in storage unit premises. As retail businesses expand their online facilities and operations they contribute to the uptick in retail business customers for storage facilities.  A flexible and adaptable self- storage company will be able to provide amenities that appeal to small businesses. 

Pandemic and Post Pandemic 

While the pandemic had its effect on many sectors, storage has remained robust throughout with various emerging factors solidifying its growth.  From 2020 the storage industry was part of the logistics chain and so was deemed an essential service.  Utilized by healthcare and food companies it formed an important part of the operations deemed necessary to continue.   With the move to working at home, many people have been decluttering their homes to create more home space.  The time spent indoors spurred an increase in home renovations and home improvements, further utilizing storage for furniture transitions.   Significantly for the removals and storage industry, the holiday on stamp duty and the race for space meant a lot of activity and movement in the housing market.  Many storage providers have noted the influx of customers who are responding to the changes in lifestyle the pandemic ushered in.  Studies show that 39% of storage customers are utilizing facilities because of moving house and associated reasons.  Additionally, 29% use storage because they are between properties and in transition.  With the increase in movement in the housing market, the uptake of storage use has also increased. 

Top Ten uses of Storage in the UK 

  1. Downsizing – a storage container is the perfect ally when downsizing and still decision-making about what stays and goes.  Whether you are moving home or office, storing possessions temporarily out of the way is brilliant, particularly if you want to sell items in due course. 
  1. Moving house- a storage unit can help you declutter your home prior to selling and also be the perfect addition to your moving strategy ensuring you don’t overfill your new place.  Before or after a move, a storage unit sure has its uses. 
  1. Bereavement – in the event of a departure a storage unit is a good temporary solution for managing effects during longer-term legal processes and until plans have been made for the future.
  1. Excess commercial stock – storage containers are excellent business add-ons, for storing stock without the danger of it depreciating.  With condensation-free units, they are more stable and secure locations for ensuring stock retains its value. 
  1. Relocating abroad – For a temporary position overseas a storage container means you can just shut everything away and set sail. Peace of mind is guaranteed with a reputable storage company.
  1. Building Materials – a safe and secure place for tools, equipment, and building materials. With drive-up self-storage access 24 hours a day, you can always find what you need when you want it. 
  1. Gardening Equipment – for professional gardeners a storage container can be the perfect secure super shed.
  1. Seasonal Sports Equipment – with the English weather, many summer water sports are seasonal, so the equipment can hibernate in storage over the chilly winter. 
  1. Ebay and start-up businesses involving packaging and sending and receiving can benefit from simple trade premises and space to process orders. 
  1. 10.Gap Year or University- when fledgling offspring are spreading their wings, some take the chance to rent out a room in the house temporarily and safely store the contents in the meantime. 

The Future of Storage in the UK 

As a resilient and flexible sector, self-storage has a stable future and is attracting investment.  Originally a market for walk-in customers, it is likely that this sector will be easily digitalized and will be innovated along with technological improvements.  Online searching for storage facilities has already surpassed in-person traffic, and there will be more advancements to follow.  Remote monitoring of storage units is likely to develop and would work well with digitalized itemization systems.  As business models alter and enterprises make use of Man and Van services with self-storage, this sector will continue to grow in times of change. 

Self-storage in Gillingham 

With self-storage, container storage, and business storage in Dorset, Aussie is opening the possibilities for your storage needs.  Located by the train station, we can serve Wiltshire, Dorset, and Somerset with our Gillingham drive-up units and long-term storage.  Providing local businesses with storage premises, we are happy to innovate alongside you as you get your enterprise off the ground.  With competitive rates at 250Cu/ft for £15+VAT per week, you can drive right up to your unit and use the address for deliveries.  All our units are fully insulated, and we can guarantee they are totally secure. If you book for a minimum of 6 months in advance, we will come and collect your stuff for free and get you set up.  We are famous in London for our can-do attitude, and the same goes for our Gillingham self-storage. Check out our reviews and get in touch today for an instant quote.