According to the UK Self Storage Association (SSA), self-storage facilities first appeared in the US in the 1960's and since that time the industry has grown to account for nearly 53,000 sites across the country.
Self-storage did not arrive in the UK until the early 1980s, initially in the London area, but today there are more than 830 facilities found across the country and this equates to 30.1m sq ft of storage space. The industry continues to grow steadily in the UK, as consumers are increasingly turning to self-storage due to factors such as moving abroad, living alone before marriage, getting divorced, retirement and down-sizing etc.
However, Giovanni Oliva, partner at GMX Markets, says customers renting storage for those reasons are not the main drivers of growth in the sector: "We sell storage pods to investors through Store First. From the storage space that is rented by the company only 30% is for residential use and around 70% is rented by commercial businesses. Increasingly, we have seen businesses that were going to rent storage space deciding to buy the storage pod instead."
This is a much higher percentage than the industry average, which rents around 42% of storage space to business customers, (up from 39% in 2011).